Next to the prestige and academic environment, college is mostly associated with wild poolside parties, spirited sports events, and casual hookups. And because of that image, a lot of students feel pressured into fitting this stereotype in order to survive school and graduate with a high social status.
Well, I don’t think that has to be true. It’s possible to have a fully gratifying college career without fitting the stereotype. Let me break it down for you:
1) You do not have to drink or do drugs to have a good time in college.
Many people do drink and they have a great time in college, but it’s very possible to have a great experience without alcohol or other substances as well. I am big on “nights in” with my closest friends and I also enjoy dancing the night away. I can do both and still be sober, be social and be happy. It’s actually better, in my opinion, because I can remember my night clearly and know that I didn’t have to depend on anything but myself to have a good time. I get home after a party and I’m like “dang I’m fun.”
2) You do not have to join Greek Life to be popular in college.
Sororities and fraternities are just a couple examples of campus organizations that can provide a good community. Residence life, volunteer organizations, cultural and religious affinity organizations, intramural sports, student government, and many other groups can also provide a strong community and even a social status akin to that of a frat star (if you want that sort of thing). Do not think that there is one way to make an impact on your campus. Do what you love and through that you will find happiness and your niche on campus. I never joined a Greek community and instead became involved in a religious community, a scholars program and residence life. From those communities, I was named one of the top 100 students in my class and awarded with many other awards of excellence. I’m not using this as an opportunity to boast, but rather to ensure you that it’s possible and worth it to join or start clubs and organizations that align with your passions and interests and not just ones you think will contribute to your visibility on campus.
3) Spring Break does not have to be spent on a beach somewhere.
Go where your heart desires for your spring (or other) breaks. Take a road trip. Find community service opportunities. Go home. Amazing spring breaks come in all shapes and sizes. I went home for every spring break until my last spring break when I was able to go abroad with my family for a vacation that was envied by many of my peers. Every break was super enjoyable and necessary no matter where I was. Besides, seeing all the same people from school amidst packed sweaty crowds on a beach doesn’t sound that relaxing.
4) Going to sporting events doesn’t mean that you have school spirit.
My university had no football. I was a cheerleader in high school so I thought no football meant no school spirit. But we were able to find school spirit outside of sports, we found spirit in wearing school apparel, reppin’ our first year halls in the most competitive ways, coming together for school dances and concerts and uniting in solidarity for common causes. So even if your university has sports, know that you can embody the spirit of your school in other ways as well.
5) You do not have to find your significant other in college.
This is a major key. Everyone has a different path. Some get engaged their senior year and others get married when they are 30, some have a few different partners throughout college and others stay single. All of these options are okay. Do not compare your relationship status to that of others and, most importantly, do not compromise or settle in your romantic relationships. You deserve the best. If you desire a relationship, everything will happen and fall into place at the right time.