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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


OPINION: Romanticize the college experience

Cooper Temple

Cooper Temple/ The Daily Wildcat

A costumed dragon attracts prospective students during the club fair on the UA mall. This was one of the many interests and oddities shown off on campus, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona. 

The fear of missing out on the “true college experience” has pushed me into various clubs, friend groups, opportunities and classes. While I disagree with overscheduling yourself to appease some stereotype that college provides the best four years of your life, I think sitting back and watching life happen around you rather than finding new opportunities is costly. 

You’re paying for your degree, but you’re also paying for the experience. During job interviews I talked more about the clubs and organizations I joined than the experiences I found within the classroom. While we are here to learn, we are also on a campus that brings so much opportunity and room for discovering your hobbies, interests and desires.

Making the most out of every minute of your college experience doesn’t translate to getting sloshed whenever possible. It’s utilizing these resources presented to you on such a large campus and running with them. While romanticizing the college experience can turn into a spiral of unmet expectations, being present and actively seeking out new experiences can be incredibly rewarding. 

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I’m not advising you to overload your schedule with collegiate obligations, but join something that keeps you grounded to the campus. Join something that ties you to your peers outside of your class schedule. Developing relationships beyond the classroom is essentially the foundation of the college experience and if you can accomplish this, no one can say your experience was lacking. 

But, on the other hand, do it. Absolutely romanticize your college experience. It’s the only time you are living this moment, and if fist-pumping on an elevated surface makes you feel like the main character of your story, keep doing it. If you look back through your Snapchat memories and find yourself cringing, at least you know you’ve grown. 

Wanting to fit into the college lifestyle isn’t a crime, just know that you don’t have to. There are so many groups on campus that will welcome you with open arms. If going to the frats isn’t your ideal Thursday night, it doesn’t have to be written into your schedule. You don’t have to be living someone else’s ideal college experience, but try your best to live yours. 

This year, I told myself I wanted to branch out to as many groups on campus as possible. While I’ve been super busy, I’ve met a plethora of people that have enriched my life. If I wasn’t chasing my ideal college experience by joining these clubs and organizations, I would never have developed these relationships. 

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While being in Model United Nations may not sound like a direct route to the romanticized college experience, I have witnessed friendships flourish throughout my years in the club. Getting to know this group has been incredibly rewarding and they’ve all taught me so much. College is about branching out and trying new things. My major has literally no relation to the United Nations, but debating nerds over the economic futures of our representative countries has kept me connected to campus.

Finding your ideal college experience can look entirely different from someone else finding theirs. The important thing is to lean far from comparison and seek out what provides you your own satisfaction. 

Get involved. Get involved. Get involved. Just join something. Joining even one organization can uplift your life incredibly in college. I started school in the spring and didn’t participate in anything outside the classroom. When I look back at my years here, that is the one semester I feel like I wasted. While I met a few amazing people, I was holding myself back from opportunities that could’ve kept me invested in my freshman year. Instead, I was desperately waiting for summer to come so I could pack up my dorm and leave.

Now, I’ve joined so many different organizations on campus and have watched my college experience develop into something I’m loving every day. 

Romanticize that SunLink ride. Try something new. Seek opportunities. Don’t watch college happen, live it. 

Follow Maggie Landon on Twitter

Maggie Landon (she/her) is a finance major at the University of Arizona. She loves to read and vibe with her cat Rizzo.

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