When I was in high school, I thought about college as a time and place when I could finally get out on my own, find my independence, and live by myself. I thought that I would live in a dorm, make new friends, discover who I am and what I meant to do in this lifetime. However, what I came to discover is I’d be living at home, making zero new friends, and still in the same place, mentally, that I was when I graduated high school.
Living at home is hard. I have to deal with the same dramas, issues, and all around bullshit that comes with having a kind of messed up family. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had to take on a parent role, making sure everyone has what they need and keeping the peace between certain family members. I understand now, that I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to live my own life and meet new people, have new experiences and not be forced into taking care of everyone else. I want a space that I can call my own; a place that my parents can’t storm into and tell me to take care of this or that. I understand that responsibility is a part of growing up, but not the kind of responsibility that I’ve had to handle. I want to be able to show them that I can take care of myself, that I’m ready to be on my own, to become my own person, without their influence or watchful eye.
I need a space that is empty of negative energy. With all of the issues surrounding my brothers and my dad, it’s hard to get away from the overwhelming sadness and frustration that envelopes my childhood home. Don’t think that this makes me ungrateful because I’m extremely grateful for everything my mom has done for me and my siblings. It simply means that I’m ready to have my own apartment, to have my own feelings, to not feel suffocated by other people’s anxieties, to have my own life.
If you can’t tell by the title, I’m so F****** stressed out. I don’t even know what to do anymore. I feel every single emotion at once. Anger, frustration, sadness, adrenaline, excitement, fear, and the list goes on and on. Leaving high school, I never thought college would be this stressful. Everybody always says “Oh, college is so much better. Just wait.” Well, it looks like I’m still waiting for college to not suck as much as it does now.
There are way too many things to juggle in college. School work, home work, work work, social life, family life, trying to figure what I want to do with my life, and so on. I’m stressed out all the time and I don’t know how to turn my brain off. Attempting to do all of the stuff on my to-do list is frustrating and annoying and I wish I had someone to help me. But I realize that most of the things I need to do are things I need to do myself, things that I need to accomplish on my own. That doesn’t change the fact that I hate it and I wish it would all just stop for a little bit.
Being an adult is terrifying. Who knew that having all of this responsibility for my own work and for myself would be paralyzingly stressful. High school and other experiences try and prepare for what college has to offer, but no experience can truly depict what it feels like to be in college. It feels like you’re constantly running a marathon but you don’t know what you’re running towards, what the end looks like. You just keep running and running because everybody else is. But what is the point of it all?
I’m still trying to figure out my purpose in life, why I was put on this earth. I still don’t understand why we are put through the experiences that we are and what lesson we’re supposed to learn from it. I don’t understand life or what it all means, and I probably will never find out. But what I do know is that everything does have a purpose and a meaning. College is supposed to teach us something valuable and everything happens for a reason.
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We’ve all heard the expression “dog is man’s best friend.” Anyone who owns a dog knows that they are loyal, passionate, fun-loving creatures. Dogs aren’t the only pets that are renowned for the love and compassion they provide. Cats, gerbils, hamsters, birds and even snakes are capable of creating meaning in your life and teaching you more than you may think.
In a time when we should all be acting like adults and being responsible, most of us are acting more irresponsible than we ever have. The lack of parental supervision and the surplus of alcohol and other drugs has made many of us into the kids that our parents never wanted. We are supposed to be acting like responsible adults; we are supposed to be getting an education in order to get a good job and eventually become successful as actual adults.
Without our parents breathing down our necks and teachers telling us specifically what we need to do, we may be getting too much independence. I personally love the independence of college, and I’m not saying that we should all be forced to live at home for the rest of our lives. However, in order for us to truly appreciate this independence, there needs to be a level of maturity that many college students haven’t gotten to yet.
I’m going to make the assumption that anyone reading this has gone to and graduated from high school. In high school there are a few authority figures who made it so that we had to do our work and go to class or there would be punishment. In my high school they had an LC (loss of credit) policy. If you missed more than five classes, in any one class, then you would LC that class and not get credit for it. Along with this, if you failed that class after LCing (which is what the majority of students did) then you would get an LC with an E (we didn’t use Fs). There was also a policy that if you showed up late three times to a class it would equal one absence.
My school had to make these policies because, to be honest, the students there were less than exemplary. More than half of the girls were either knocked up or post-abortion and the mass majority of the school would skip class to go smoke weed or drink during the day. This being said, the PTSA (apparently PTA was offensive) would do everything they could to get teachers to start cracking down more on students. But in college (yes there was a point to this rant) the mass majority of teachers do not care if you come to class, don’t remind you when assignments are due nor do they give you a hard time when you don’t turn them in, and your parents aren’t going to PTSA meetings cause we are “responsible” college students.
I understand the temptation to be crazy and drink and all that, but we need to do our work as well. If you don’t, there will be consequences. Academic probation means a very very long mandatory study hall that you have to go to daily. Would you rather do your work now or be forced to sit in a room with other people who are as unfortunate as you and do it then? There is a certain standard which college students are expected to uphold; just don’t disappoint your parents too much. Radford is fun; you wouldn’t want them to stop paying tuition because you got caught smoking pot.
There needs to be a happy median between partying and school work. Students need to learn that they are not just in college to party. Our parents are not paying for our educations for us to throw them away because studying on Thirsty Thursday just seems like a sin. College students are expected to be responsible while there are so many distractions keeping us from doing so. Students need to grow up and smell the diploma, because that is what we are here for.