These are our selfish years

Zara DeGroot

I have always had a problem with the phrase “your time in college is your time to be selfish.” Personally, I get the connotation behind it, but my college experience thus far has shown me that people are using this phrase as an excuse for engaging in stupid, reckless behavior.

The college years are growing years for sure. The emotional roller coaster that was high school failed to prepare us for the brutal reality that would welcome us the moment we stepped foot on our college campus. Eh, college isn’t that bad, but to say that high school molded us into who are and taught how to stand firm in ourselves would be a lie. Almost everyone I know has questioned to an extent who they are since entering into the college realm. But that’s the beauty of college and of a university, isn’t it? If you aren’t in a constant state of confusion, wanting to scream, laugh and cry all at the same time, are you really doing this college thing right? We are here to learn and experience without pretending we have it all figured out, because trust me, nobody does. And that is where this whole “this is your time to be selfish” phrase comes into play.


College is the time to pursue the things in life you want, to learn about what interests you and to discover your place in this world. As much as we struggle with managing school work, friends and responsibilities, our time in college will most likely be the easiest years of our life, at least until we reach the age of retirement, let’s hope. So in a sense, yes, this is our time to be selfish. However, being selfish with our college pursuits does not mean it is acceptable to throw away all sense of responsibility and common sense. This is our time to focus on ourselves in order to refine our personalities and shape who we are.

I have seen many people, before indulging in heedless behavior, brush it off and excuse it by reassuring themselves that these are the fun years and they are allowed to do stupid things. While I think that having a good time is necessary to maintain a healthy balance of school and play, I don’t think you should attempt to justify doing something really stupid by excusing it with being young and carefree. It is not a conducive way to experience your younger years. Don’t dismiss opportunities that come your way because you only focus on “having a good time” and you lack the motivation to pursue something worthwhile at a higher cost.

You may think I’m a bore and I’m missing out on the college fun, and maybe I am in a sense. Yet I firmly believe that if you throw away your college years by partaking in stupid activities and ignore the opportunities laid before you, you are the one missing out.

Be selfish. But be selfish in the sense that you seek rewarding opportunities and readily put yourself in new experiences; don’t use that as an excuse to be irresponsible and thoughtless.

Collegian Columnist Zara DeGroot can be reached at, or on Twitter @Zar_degroot