On Campus
May 19, 2008, 09:39AM

College Doesn't Make Sense Until It's Over

A graduating writer (and former editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian) used to hate the pressure to define and achieve success during college. But in the end he managed to enjoy himself even though he never got a summer internshipn and doesn't know what he's doing next year.

"I lost count of the number of times I thought that Penn Admissions made a mistake in admitting me. (Of course, former Dean of Admissions Lee Stetson mysteriously resigned last year, so I guess now I'll never know the truth.) I felt like everyone else was the real Penn kid, and that I was some kind of imposter. I was the dumb kid.

So when I was faced with what seemed to be the culture at Penn, I drank the Kool-Aid. I started fretting about anything and everything - the grades, the careers, the future. I missed the forest for the trees, as the old cliche goes. And it made me miserable. By freshman year's end, I was depressed. By the end of sophomore year, I was contemplating not returning to school. And by the time junior year rolled around, the only thing enticing me to return for my fourth and final year was the thought that 365 days later I would be done.

Contrary to what I thought a year ago, I don't regret coming to Penn. I also don't regret joining the DP - even though it destroyed my grades, cost me some friends, earns me a glare whenever I mention it and likely took a toll on my physical and mental health.

But I do regret the anxiety and the worry I had, and if I had the four years to do again, I would do a lot of things differently.

Even now, I still don't know what I'm doing with the rest of my life. I never pursued a summer internship. I'm not going to medical school, law school or some sweet I-banking gig. And I definitely don't see a house and three kids in my future.


  • Something doesn't add up here. Disappointment in college after the first year—after years of anticipation—is common. But this dude still didn't care for his Ivy League school three years into it. I smell a sly (and cleverly opportunistic) job application disguised as a student newspaper column.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment