Reality check: life as we know it in college

    I’m a senior at UCSD. Looking back on my tenure as a Triton, I can remember a lot of sordid tales. There are highs and lows. There are good times and bad times. The only problem is that I don’t really know what it all means. I’ve been told that you’re supposed to learn something from college; you’re supposed to gain something that you can take with you for the rest of your life. I don’t know that I have. What I’ve been trying to figure out lately is whether I really care. I’m still looking for the answer to that question.

    When I first came to college, I had an idea about what I was supposed to take away from it. My beliefs about college were firmly rooted in the saying, “”College is the best four years of your life.”” As such, I figured on a few things as givens for college. I thought that my freshman roommate and I would become instant best friends; I thought that I would meet a girl that I would spend the rest of my life with; I thought that I would learn something profound about my character and what I wanted to do with my life. Most of all, I thought that I would be happy for all four years. With a few minor exceptions, those idealistic dreams about college have all been shattered.

    The first was really done before it got started. My freshman roommate and I could not have been any different. That didn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but we were incompatibly different. Basically, he was a disabled, hermit-like computer nerd who preferred to play online role-playing games all night than actually conversing with real people, whereas I am a naturally social person who loves to go out and meet people. The problem didn’t bother me that much, to be honest (he was deaf, but could hear with the use of an ultra-powerful hearing aid). I even didn’t mind his vibrating (yes, I said vibrating) alarm going off at 5 a.m. to get him up for crew practice. What bothered me the most was that, try as I might, I could not make a serious connection with him. It really disillusioned me quite quickly.

    While I certainly wouldn’t call myself a disaster with the ladies, I have failed to find that one true love that I pictured would be waiting for me in college. Before I left home, one of the guys I worked with at a local paper told me that he met his wife the first weekend of college and they had been together ever since. I pictured something like that happening to me. What ended up happening was that I spent the first few years at UCSD floundering around with a few awkward dates here and there.

    I dated a girl steadily at the end of my freshman year, but all I was really doing was trying to coerce myself into a meaningful relationship (it was done after just four months). My junior year I found someone that made me extraordinarily happy. We dated for 14 months, but circumstances beyond my control ended the relationship. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt, but I honestly believe that, at the time, it was the best thing for both of us. With only a few months left in my college career, I think that the chances of me finding eternity before I venture off into parts unknown are slim and none.

    I guess the real question is: Am I happy where I am in my life? After reflecting on everything, I would like to think that I am. It may not be the kind of happiness that I thought I wanted coming into college, but I think that I can actually say that I’m happy with where my life is. I’m not saying that college has been solid happiness all the way through; I don’t know if anyone can make that claim. I’ve had my share of down moments. I’ve buried an ex-girlfriend, battled depression, faced alcohol poisoning and alcoholism, lost close friends and girls, and hated the person I was turning into. I am a firm believer that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. By my estimation, I’m pretty damn strong, but I’ve had help. Through it all, though, I’ve had a great group of friends to help me through it. I’ve had a steady job that I love doing and love putting my time and energy into. I no longer know what the future will bring. I’m out of the prognosticating business. I’ve resigned myself to taking one day at a time. I’m just waiting to see what tomorrow brings.

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