Although I’m expecting it, the piercing tones of my alarm drag my eyes open, forcing me out of my dreams and into the day ahead. Groggily, I silence the alarm and remind myself that there are only two more days until the weekend, which provides little comfort at 6 am on a Thursday.
From there, half-awake, I carry out the rest of my morning routine, until I’m behind the wheel of my car, music blaring as I follow the familiar route to my high school. The rest of the day will involve doing more of the same, progressing from class to class when the bell tells me to, until the final chime alerts me that it’s time to go home.
The rest of the day is mine, until the clock strikes 6 tomorrow morning, when I’ll repeat the cycle again. There is little change, little choice, little chance that anything radically new will happen. The biggest difference between yesterday and today is that yesterday was Wednesday. Not that I mind too much: school isn’t that hard, and I find plenty to do in my spare time. Overall, it’s not a bad existence.
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A year later, I wake naturally on a tranquil Thursday morning. I check the clock: the time is later than most would sleep, but I have ample time until my first and only class of the day begins. I could go back to bed, but a nagging feeling tells me I should really get up.
From there, my options are unlimited. Do I do laundry while no one is around? Do I watch Netflix until lunch? Do I catch up on reading for tomorrow? There’s no bell to tell me where to go, no asinine countdown until I’m finally free to do as I wish. My choices are completely my own. I don’t even have to go to class if I don’t want to, but of course I’ll go. The point isn’t in skipping class, it’s that I have the option at all.
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In high school, every minute is managed, and there’s a place assigned to you at all times. College isn’t like that. College is all about time, your
time, and what you choose to do with it. Class is only a fraction of your life.
Opportunity waits at every corner, seeking to be stumbled upon. Every kind of club exists for every kind of person, and if you can’t find your club, you’re free to make your own. If you’re prone to 12-hour Netflix binges or spontaneous bursts of wanderlust, college allows you to indulge. You can stay in your room for hours on end, or you can explore and embark on adventures. Of course, amid this newfound freedom, it’s easy to forget responsibilities.
While high school featured a schedule that was out of your hands, you must find your own balance in college. Be sure to have fun, but remember your ultimate purpose at college. After all, you have all the time in the world. Why not make the most of it?