Opinion: Mid-college crisis

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber

Elaina Sauber is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

During my first two years at Kent State, I became accustomed to the warm, easygoing fall semester. Everything felt new enough to stay exciting, and living on campus seemed to put the world at my fingertips. Classes were manageable yet challenging.

The spring semester tended to make me a little pessimistic as a result of the frigid weather, but it taught me the value of good meals, hot showers and the white tundra that would lay before me through squinted eyes as I trudged to my 8:50 a.m. class.

This year, however, something changed. Maybe I changed. But as I make my mile-long journey to class this semester, I’ve found myself wishing I could be a freshman again. Not necessarily because things were simpler and newer, but because my first year of college held so many possibilities that I couldn’t wait to take advantage of.

It came with its annoyances: I lived among loud, obnoxious people and had no privacy, but as I sit in an empty house off-campus two years later, I realize that being a “big kid” is nothing like I imagined two years ago.

These feelings of nostalgia and fear steadily rose until the other day when I realized I’m just having a mid-college crisis. It all makes sense now: that feeling of not knowing what you’ll do with your life after graduation; of an endless, whining workload that keeps you from doing the things you enjoy; of sitting in your room alone at the end of the day, wondering if this loneliness is all a part of adulthood that was kept secret from you. They’re characteristics of the halfway point of our college career, and they’re venomous.

We come to college looking for a place to belong. We search for acceptance from others and tell ourselves that joining clubs and going to meetings will give our lives meaning. And in some ways, they do — temporarily. But there comes a point where you realize that those things don’t identify you. You feel betrayed.

At this point, you may take a step back and work on getting to know yourself — getting lost in your own head with ideas and questions and dreams. You establish what you want out of life after graduation. If you never took the time to do that before, the mid-college crisis may hit you a little harder than others.

What came as such a shock to me was experiencing the mid-college crisis after two great years. I worked hard, had a large group of friends and always had something to do. That’s what makes the crisis so personal: What you did beforehand is irrelevant. This is the present. The reality is, you’re overwhelmed, trapped and fed up. Maybe your major isn’t what you expected. Maybe your friends aren’t what you expected. Maybe you’re just trying to pay your rent on time.

There is no way to prepare yourself for the mid-college crisis, but establishing a line between who you are and what you do can help. Your relationships and obligations are temporary. Your dreams are not. The best way to manage the crisis is to persist.