Life gets better after college

Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

This was written in response to, “The quarter-life crisis: enjoy college while you can,” published Sept. 18.

The last five years have been some of the best and happiest of my life; it’s no coincidence that college ended five years ago.

As someone who usually avoids dwelling on her university years, the Lariat opinion piece “The quarter-life crisis: enjoy college while you can” caught my attention.

Admittedly, college was not all bad and I’ve had an overall fantastic life. However, the transition from adolescence to adulthood engendered stifling anxiety as I grappled with my ever-changing identity. I felt alone. I suffered depression. I refused to walk away from a toxic relationship.

In retrospect, I self-induced much of my college misery. I ate junk food, did not set boundaries and subjected myself to sleepless nights because I preferred the thrill of procrastination to managing my work load efficiently. I found little purpose in pouring energy into academia. A letter hastily scribbled at the top of my paper seemed little return for my labors. Furthermore, a churning tumult of 22-year-olds surrounded me. Their dramas, instability, exploring personal limits to the breaking point and a culture of complaining, self-pity and apathy both repulsed and reflected me to myself.

Yet, the mantra echoes on–– “College is the best time of your life!”

You may feel that graduation means facing that “void of black question marks” that is your future. Understandably so. Uncertainty disconcerts us.

However, I assure you–– life gets better after college. You may not find the perfect job, city or relationship in the first year, or the first 10. In fact, life may get harder and not easier.

Even so, you learn to deal. You learn to set boundaries and take care of yourself and others. You learn what is worth your energies and what is not. You take on more responsibilities and bear the fulfilling weight of affecting others’ lives. At long last, your work can bear more fruit than a letter grade.

You can grow. You can choose to travel, to take a class, to change your views and whom you invest in. The future presents glorious opportunities.

Yes, your post-college social life will be different and probably not as automatic as before. But hey, adults need and make time for friends too. In the work force, you will still have some time off, you can still “escape to the beach” with your friends, and you can hopefully even “escape from all responsibility” at your parents’ house (unless your parents disown you upon graduation). All things good and fun do not end when you cross that stage!

Post-college life is not more “real” than college. They both entail very real joys, pains, achievements and stresses. Both stages are special. If you love college, great! But if not, be glad. Make the most of now, but know that change is ahead–– and possibly even the best days of your life.

– Abigail Allison, an Amarillo temporary lecturer in Spanish