It is difficult to define the expectations of college. For many students, college is its own vast and convoluted realm of education, social pressures and personal endeavors. While the universal understanding of a college student may seem evident for us, universities are their own little worlds based in the cultures of their communities.
College for everyone is different, but it is also the same universal time period of figuring it out. This description of college may seem bleak, but this localized identity contributes to the expectations students have each year of college. This isn’t a negative examination of expectations versus reality, but how our expectations change and shape our college experience.
It’s interesting to think about how each year you grow, change a little, and become slightly but entirely a different human being.
Let’s think about an incoming freshman in college. Everything is new and bright and terrifying. Our expectations of the future are clouded by deciding a major, adapting to a new space, and pressure of meeting new people. Our classes shape our understanding of school, while the people around us help shape our understanding of ourselves.
This vague cause and effect is both constant and unconscious but isn’t special to the college experience. This happens before our time at the University of Kansas. Thus imploring us to consider what we expect out of our first-year experience.
I also think we must consider our short- and long-term expectations and how they differ. One’s short-term expectations may revolve around weekend plans and the people they talk to on a daily basis. What’s scary about college is in a month, semester or year, these plans and people can change. Thinking about this forces us to question what we value so much.
The long-term expectations tend to be more serious. This involves graduating, career paths, relationships, or any post-collegiate apprehension. We have an innate sort of pressure to have some of these decisions made by a certain point. Considering the future is important and affects our short-term expectations, but it's also important to not get caught up in stress we build. Whether this stress pertains to school, relationships, etc., often we take these aspects too seriously.
As a senior, it’s almost humorous to think about what worried me during my freshman, sophomore and junior years. These worries stem from our expectations. I think about my everyday concerns both then and now, and this reflection causes a sort of minute epiphany. Having these apprehensions is important, but they now seem so menial because of how these things change. I’m not suggesting we worry less but consider how vastly life changes.
Making goals and having expectations is essential to growth and experiencing life to its fullest extent. But taking our responsibilities and worries day-by-day is vital, so we do not become overwhelmed by the silliness of life. Appreciate the time you have here, because adulthood is pending.
Madison Warman is a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, studying English and Spanish.