I am a junior and live in a house off campus with roommates I like. I am doing well in my classes, and like my major. However, I really do not enjoy college. I realized that I think of college as a phase I have to go through to get to where I want to be, and nothing more. I spend my weeks practically counting down the hours until the weekends I can go home to my parents' house, or until I can see my boyfriend who lives in the state I lived in before high school. I have a hard time accepting that college at BSU is my life now. The only thing I think about is my life after BSU, when I intend to move back to where I previously lived, and start my life with my boyfriend. I know that if I can learn to live right now, and accept my life now, I will be happier and my last two years here will be much more fulfilling and enjoyable. I just do not know how to enjoy right now when I want so badly to graduate and move onto the next phase of my life.
Signed: Unhappy Dear Unhappy,
You present an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, you say that you like your roommates, like your major, and are doing well academically. On the other hand, you say you do not enjoy college and spend your time “counting down the hours” until you can be elsewhere. You describe this preferred other “place” as being home, being with your boyfriend in another state, or starting your life in the future. Your implied question to Charlie seems to be, “How do I enjoy my life now?” For starters, it sounds like you really miss home. You express this very directly when you talk about spending time with your parents on the weekends. Charlie is guessing that spending time with your boyfriend also feels like home to you The best medicine for missing home is to do your best to make college feel more like home. This varies from one person to the next, but may include one or more of the following: redecorating your place off campus to feel more like home; rearranging your schedule so that it feels more comfortable; or making and hanging out with newly-made friends on campus. You might also consider “turning the tables” by asking people who are close to you (e.g., boyfriend, parents) to come visit your new home at Ball State. In addition to wishing you were home, you pine after “moving onto the next phase of my life”. Charlie wonders why you view the future as so attractive in comparison to the present. Consistent with the discussion above, you likely see yourself in a home of your own with your boyfriend. For some, pursuing a future career is more appealing than merely going to school. Perhaps this is the case for you. Charlie certainly understands why these objectives would be attractive to you. On the other hand, Charlie wonders if you might be over-idealizing the future. If so, this can be problematic. In reality, the future may be wrought with some of the same problems and struggles as the present. Focusing too much on the future can cause us to miss out on the joys of the present. When you think about it from an existential standpoint, none of us are guaranteed the future. All we can really count on is the present. Getting in touch with this can help us to appreciate and authentically enjoy what we have right now. Hoping this helps you find a balance between your old and new home, your near and long-distance relationships, and your present and future. Charlie
Copyright © 2013 Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
800-382-8540 and 765-289-1241