There has been a point in every college student’s life where they have been cramming for a midterm at one o’clock in the morning, drinking their eighth cup of coffee of the day and repeatedly FaceTiming their mom asking themselves, “What am I even doing in my life, and why on Earth am I in college?” However, this is usually a phase of desperation and self-doubt that begins to fade once the test has been taken and you take a four-hour nap to resurrect yourself. Although I have experienced many of these late night “contemplate-your-whole-life” moments, it was not until Tuesday, as I was sitting in my Public Management class, that I legitimately asked myself, “What am I even doing in my life, and why on Earth am I in college?”
Usually this feeling of contemplation goes away after thirty minutes and I bounce back to my questionably high-ego self, but two days later this question is still invading my mind and I have officially declared my nineteen year old self in the midst of a midlife (mid-college) crisis.
So, here is my problem: I (my parents) am paying ‘X’ amount, an absurd amount, of money to attend a phenomenal, accredited institution to literally be taught how to work Canvas and read a syllabus. For example, I am currently enrolled in a four hundred student Microeconomic lecture that does not take attendance, does not have homework and does not hold discussion sections, but instead the notes are posted on Canvas, attendance is optional and there are only four required, graded exams. Basically by the end of the semester, I will be a semi-qualified Microeconomics professor because I will have taught myself everything I know about the course. I have completed every single assignment, prepped myself for every exam and have (finally) found a major that I can see a future with without the help of a single professor, advisor or tutor and I am excelling in my academics (if we ignore last semester’s Chem trial). So why am I spending so much time, effort and money to be taught solely by an online classroom and a little bit of common sense? What does it say about my class that I can finish assignments in September that aren’t even due until December because I have already taught myself the material? What am I doing? Why am I here?
But I have found that this answer is actually quite simple. I am not wasting my time, effort or money being at an extraordinary university, because in “real life” in my “real” job, I am not going to have a professor, tutor or advisor looking over my shoulder, patting my back and fixing my mistakes, but I am going to have to hold myself accountable. I am going to be working to complete and excel in my work to the best of my ability, how to better and modernize my company and how to build a career, a life and a mission for myself, by myself.
I am in college to figure out who I am, what I want, how to create my own opportunities and how to balance everything that life hands me. I am in college to grow as a student, a friend, a professional and a person and I get to do that with a beyond supportive family, encouraging sorority sisters and a group of inspiring friends all while attending the university of my dreams.
After a few days of life contemplation, I can understand that it is actually impressive that I am able to teach myself certain course objectives and ace the class, that it is professional of me to work my way through advanced technology in order to educate myself and I understand that maybe this is not a midlife crisis, but instead a much-needed realization. Life does not have a syllabus that you have to follow, deadlines you have to meet and a professor giving you gold stars, you have to work for the life you want, learn for experiences and find what works for you.