What do students usually expect to take away from college? Experience? A’s? Connections? Friendships? All of these basic college related things can change a students life, but what happens when these things are taking over their entire schedule? What happens to family time, social life, getting involved in multiple clubs or just downtime? Sudents are expected to do all of these and more.
In today’s society, students are expected to juggle many things at once. A student will not be the best of the best if they are not involved or don’t achieve perfect grades. All of these “obligations” a student has to uphold can either be from them watching other students and seeing their achievements, or from expectations that are set by the students themselves — whether they know it or not.
Students feel pressure from multiple sources. It could be from themselves, their parents, their teachers, their peers or anyone they look up to and want to be more like. Students set standards for themselves. They can be very hard on themselves when they don’t get the grade they want or if something they create is not perfect. Part of the motivation behind striving for perfection lies in humankind’s competitive nature; to achieve greater goals than their peers, to try to live up to what a “good college student” should act like. What is the definition of a good college student? Should it be based on their grades, or how involved they are? Who decides which is more important?
Some students have the ability to plan their schedule according to what is important to them and what kind of experience they would like the college to give them. One student could be great at learning by listening to lectures all day, while another student might learn more if they have fewer classes with more hands-on learning. It’s all about the individual, and that’s all a student should be focusing on. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what should come first with extracurricular activities.
When students work while in school or are part of KSC organizations, like one of the various clubs or Greek life, it makes their schedules even more hectic. What if a student and all their friends have just turned 21, do they go out or do they take the time to do school work? There are mental obligations that students have to figure out on their own, and it can be extremely stressful. They want to do well at school, but since they can’t go bowling, to the movies or out for the night, in a way they feel like they’re missing out. It comes down again to: What is most important to them.
Finding balance can be hard with so many different options. Students are trying to not let their friends, teachers, parents and co-workers down, but at the same time they are hurting themselves. Students are trying their best to make everyone around them happy, so much so that they are forgetting to ask themselves if they are succeeding. Why are we here in the first place? All these obligations that students have weighing on their shoulders are unrealistic and made-up in their head.
A student personally knows what they want, and no one else should tell them what they have to do to succeed. Being involved with sports is a great way to work together with friends, but it’s not necessary to graduate or get a job. Joining a club or organization is a great way to get involved, but it’s not a required class. Just because there are students around partying doesn’t mean everyone has to. Also, just because a student is living in a house doesn’t mean they have to throw parties. Students don’t have to prove their intelligence by having multiple degrees if they’re really interested in a specific field. Even when a student’s parents are very successful, it doesn’t mean that they should feel obligated to live up to their parents in any way. A first generation college student might also feel that expectation to do well since they were given an opportunity their parents were not. Parents as well as professors, friends and mentors don’t want to see a student feel like they’re missing out, or trying to become someone else. Instead, they want to see success and individuality come from students, and they will do everything to help them get there.
We hope that students look past the societal expectations set for them and go to college for themselves — to do what they want, how and when. Because time is valuable, but limited. Whether it is a school, a country, a gender or a generation that a student wants to represent and support, they should do it how they think is best. Why waste these four years doing what society says is right, when you know individually what you would rather be doing?