Opinion Editor Katie Baker reads a novel in the archives section of the campus library. Photo courtesy of Kat Delaney / The Snapper
As we make our way past the halfway point of the fall semester, I find myself extremely overwhelmed, tired of going to class and counting the days till graduation (198 days to be exact). But, I also find myself fascinated by the fact that every single college student embarks on totally different experiences in their time at school
Now first, I want to give a little backstory on what I mean by this. Before graduating high school, I had an extremely warped perception of what college life was really like. I thought everyone pretty much did the same things regardless of what university you attended or what major you were in. However, once I arrived in Millersville I realized that I was completely wrong; there is absolutely no “average college student”.
The first three years I spent at Millersville, I was a student-athlete. This meant countless hours at practice, meeting my required study hall hours, and traveling for games. There was little to no time for any extracurricular activities, and there was certainly no time to dive deeper into my school work. I felt like I was constantly stuck doing the bare minimum because I never had the time to do more.
As a retired athlete, I took every opportunity I could to dive into extracurriculars. I had the perception that I missed out on so many fun things because of athletics. I joined The Snapper, became a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, accepted an internship, and even picked up a job on the side. But wait, there’s more: I am also taking four classes.
Before this semester I thought being an average college student meant I went to classes, I spent my days off in the library studying, I got to enjoy different clubs and overall I would be more relaxed. And even though I have the time to do many of those things, I still don’t feel relaxed.
The reality of this is that I’m not average because I chose not to be. I tackle every opportunity that comes knocking at my door without thinking about the consequences because I enjoy a challenge. College is the most perfect time to embrace challenges. You never know what you’re made of until you face what you’re afraid of! In high school, I used to be terrified of trying new things, and that mentality stuck with me throughout college. It wasn’t until I retired from athletics, losing the only crutch I had left, that I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced all I could.
The point of this story isn’t just for me to complain about my life as a student (although it may seem that way). My point is that there is no “average college student life”. There’s no set path you should follow in order to have a good experience, there’s no guide that says you shouldn’t join every organization you find, and there’s no one who can tell you what you should be doing.
My advice to you, as someone who is now wise from her almost four years at Millersville, is to enjoy the ride. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t think you can handle, but allow yourself to experience everything and anything that comes your way. Embrace the challenges and the opportunities because you can! Every single person that goes to college has a different purpose, which means each of us is going to embark on independent journeys. Whether you want to enjoy being a student-athlete, or prefer to spend your evening in a study room, there is absolutely no right or wrong way to choose. All you have to do is know that you’re not average, you are your own person tackling your own journey that you get to create yourself! So, buckle up, and get ready to experience the joys of college life.