Susman: Don’t let college pass you by

I’m a dreamer. I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about the future and what my life will be like years from now. I act like I’ve got it all together, but I’m secretly just as clueless as the rest of us.

Growing up, I always wanted to be somewhere else, and I was always focused on moving on to the next thing. When I came to college, I was ecstatic to finally be somewhere that put me on the fast track to achieving my lifelong goals.

But it took me two years to realize that I was looking at college way too instrumentally. It was simply a means to an end, something that would get me somewhere else. College was serving a purpose, but the fulfillment wasn’t there.

Why is this a bad thing? For starters, I missed out on one hell of an experience. I didn’t start college here, but I owed it to myself to take full advantage of the time I had. If only it had occurred to me earlier that the four years you spend here are about much more than just getting you a job later in life (although that’s important too).

Admittedly, the presence of freshmen everywhere is a somber sight, because I know this is just the beginning for them. They have four years ahead of them with endless possibilities. Make no mistake, your first couple years here are by far the easiest and most fun you’ll ever have, so long as you remain in the present and keep priorities other than just getting out of here.

By the time you’ve become a junior, and realize that college is more than half over, the reality suddenly hits you like a brick wall. Coursework is more demanding, and is no longer something you can only take half-seriously. You’re suddenly occupied with working, extracurriculars and internships. Really, anything that caters to your life after graduation.

Your life is no longer about what you want to do now, it’s all about getting you somewhere else in a couple years. Time starts to fly by quicker than you could imagine as your connection to the here and now dwindles.

It’s incredibly easy to lose track of time. You’re left to figure college out own your own. You have to motivate yourself to accomplish whatever you desire. Often that means distancing yourself from people and activities that you love to focus on the bigger picture.

When you become consumed with what’s going to happen two or three years from now, it’s impossible to take each day at face value. It just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the illusion of what the future looks like that you forget about everything else and forgo getting everything possible out of your college experience. It’s not a healthy way to go.

Living means balancing your ambition with a passion for your current situation. You don’t want to be the guy that’s so caught up in the job that he’ll have after college that he forgets he’s still a student, and thinks the depth of college is little more than a fancy piece of paper. He’ll graduate, enter the real world and soon after realize he has little to remember his university days by. He’ll often find himself asking, was it really worth it?

You’re the only one who can take control and make college everything you ever dreamed. Sometimes that means giving up certain things for others or letting old friends go. New experiences happen, and it’s easy to get pulled in a million different directions. Nobody said it would be easy, but life is just crazy like that.

For those of you who are just beginning here, there’s only one piece of advice I can give you. Treat your time at this university like a gift. This is your time to shine. Never will you grow and learn as much about yourself as you do in these four short years.

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Copyright 2018