‘Best’ days of our lives


CollegeExperience - Fani Hsieh
Graphic by Fani Hsieh

During family gatherings throughout the year, uncles and aunts coax students to share their experiences at school.

“So how many girlfriends do you have, Joe?” “You spend all your summer job money on booze yet, Emily?”

Before you can deflect the flurry of questions, Uncle Tom has already begun reminiscing about his own time at university which always seem to end in, “Those were the best days of my life.” Millions of nostalgic uncles and aunts cherish their university or college experiences and get excited when given a chance to reflect on them.

Their tales are about peak versions of themselves: fearless, young adults that threw themselves into wild situations which always resulted in laughs.

They were admittedly out of control but still, it was a period of pure bliss.

This type of reminiscing has entrenched itself within our culture.

As Red Bull claims: “No one wishes they’d slept more through college.” There is a slew of movies that presents post-secondary education as an eight-month all-inclusive carnival.

It’s presented as a place where young kids engage in their wildest fantasies, only to wish they could return after they are part of the “real world.”

When these ideas become standardized within the population’s upbringing, it becomes confusing for those that are really living inside the moment. The student needs to constantly wonder, “am I doing this thing right?”

My focus isn’t on media portrayal but about calling attention to the the process of placing expectations on someone’s personal experience, especially when they’re are as weird as this one.

School has been really fun but these better not be the best days of my life.

That’s comparable to watching a movie, only for a disclaimer to come up at the half an hour mark that says: “This is the best part of the movie, it just gets worse from here.” Why would I want to finish that movie?

That’s how nonsensical and depressing that projection of the university life ends up being.

Ultimately, I think the expectations and reverence surrounding the university experience are based on it being a time and space where we’re allowed to make mistakes.

It’s not exclusively just the wild nights that aunts and uncles miss, it’s the freedom to mess up without the increased consequences that accompany adulthood. Therefore, forget about the pressure to make university the peak of your human existence.

It makes no sense and contradicts what you can gain from the experience. It’s about figuring out what the “best days of your life” specifically mean for you.A trial and error approach where we can learn what we’re passionate about as well as the types of things we want to avoid.

Set yourself up for “the best days of your life” instead of facing the pressure to use them all up now.

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