As a college senior, I think it’s funny to look back at my perceptions of college as a high school senior and match it to the reality I’ve been through the past few years. There wasn’t much dialogue in my household or middle school about college until I entered high school which is when the idea of college first crossed my mind. Being that I didn’t know a lot of people my age from my neighborhood of Harlem who had went to college, most of my perception of college came from movies and television shows which focused less on the academics and more on the party scene on campus. Two of the common themes I would hear once I began to visit colleges and meet students and adults who went to college were that there was a lot of “free time” in college and that it will be the “best four years of my life”. I entered my freshman year at Boston College only with the perceptions that I was supposed to be enjoying the ridiculous amount of free time I would have in between classes and have fun. I took the opportunity to get involved in a couple clubs and try out things I didn’t do in high school like play in a marching band or write for the school newspaper.
One of the things I quickly realized was that I didn’t really have that much “free time” when you factor in all the time you’re supposed to be studying, doing club activities, and working on campus. To engage in all the aspects of college and work a job or two meant that I needed to manage my time more than I ever did in high school and is something I still struggle with as senior. Even though people have a perception of college students tossing frisbees and footballs all day, the reality is far from it considering how there’s pressure to get involved in a million clubs and if you have work study or need to earn money for your tuition then there’s not really that much “free time”. Another thing I realized is that college won’t be the “best four years” of everyone’s life but it will be some of the most formative years you’ll experience. For those that are low income, people of color, and first generation students, which are all groups I identify with, the reality is that college is a struggle academically and financially especially in that first year of school.
Even though I’ve made a lot of friends and have a lot of fond memories to reminisce over when I graduate, I would be lying if I said that college has been the “best four years of my life” given how hard my father worked to contribute to my education, how much I had to struggle to get to where I am today, and how much stress I continue to feel as a college senior. I’m forever grateful for some of the amazing opportunities I had at Boston College including doing video production work for hundreds of athletics events, taking phenomenal courses with amazing professors, and participating in an immersion program in Belize. It would’ve been much harder to get through college without the support of some of my advisers to help me navigate college and set achievable goals to get where I wanted to be at academically and professionally. College has helped to widen my perspective on passions and career options I didn’t even consider when I was in high school and has inspired me to pursue my own ambitions. While I can’t say I’ve had much “down time” or enjoyed every part of college, I’m happy that I learned more about myself and went outside of my comfort zone inside and outside of the classroom.