Millennial Kid Blues: You’re not alone

by Nathan Arel

arelna@mnstate.edu

Are you unsure of what to do with your life?  Concerned about where college is taking you? Waking in cold sweat and tears every night from crippling fear of the unknown? Good news, you’re not alone!

Few people would disagree that, at first, college is terrifying. For some, it never ceases to be terrifying, but the reasons may shift. On your first day of the first week of your first semester, you are probably scared because the classes will be ten times harder than high school, the dorms are filled with people just itching to steal your stuff, your administrator hates you, and none of your classes seem to have classrooms that actually exist. Soon you will realize that none of this is true.

What is slightly more disconcerting is when you reach the point where you are comfortable and (what some may call) happy with your college experience and you begin you ask yourself if your major will provide you with any kind of satisfaction in life. Or, if you study Fine Arts, the question of if your major will leave you as a street beggar, peddling stolen manga out of the back of a Ford Pinto that just happens to double as your bed.

Unfortunately for you, I have few answers to these lifelong questions. And, in fact, I am a sophomore, so around half this campus probably has more answers than I do. But there is a jaded little nugget of reassurance at the bottom of this barren, depressing mineshaft of an article.

College is hard and long and confusing in many ways, but it is not the “end all, be all” of life. There are endless possibilities and endless paths to take.

Maybe college isn’t for you and you manage to find something else you like to do. Congratulations. Make no mistake, the common assertion of life being unsolvable without a degree is complete malarkey.

Maybe it’s necessary for your career, so you rough it out and get your job and find that satisfaction in life. Maybe you get that job and cannot live with it. Okay, you spent around five percent of your life learning now nigh on worthless information while making a few friends. Even if you consider that a waste, oh well. You probably have another 50 years to sort out your options.

I know I am leaving out dozens of possibilities here, but – the point is – we are not talking about college. We are talking about time. College takes time, and costs money. And making money takes time. But the global obsession with never wasting a day in your life is simply unfeasible.

What’s important is that you be happy and have fun. Enjoy your life. Role models will tell you to work hard, succeed in everything, and find happiness, but sometimes those goals intersect about as cohesively as a speeding bullet and a pressurized air tank. If happiness is most important to you, make sure college is actually what will get you to it.

One last digression: This moderately coherent list of ramblings is in no way meant to suggest that I condone bumming off your early twenties to party, gamble, and smoke wacky tobacco. That is far more likely to mess up your life. Unless, of course, you enjoy peddling stolen manga out of the back of a Ford Pinto.

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