College is stressful, but enjoy it

Lessons taught outside the classroom

By: Autumn Barszczowski

At the end of my second week of junior year, I attended X-Fest, with headliners Bastille and Highly Suspect. But as I struggled through the workload of these past weeks, my mind has been stuck on one of the opening acts: K. Flay.

I’ve spent all day listening to her album and trying to think about what I have learned at Point Park. I’m at the halfway point of my college career, so what have I learned and where do I go from here?

Well, K. Flay has a song titled “It’s Just a Lot,” and honestly, I don’t think anything has better described what I’ve learned at college.

The chorus of the song perfectly sums up everything that I have learned about life during my time here: “It’s just a lot, it’s just a lot / I wanna hold onto the innocence I got / It’s just a lot, it’s just a lot / I wanna care for all the little things I got.”

So, why those lyrics?

After the most overwhelming three weeks of my time here, I realized that’s exactly what college is. It’s just a lot. I could go into detail about why and break down every meeting I’ve attended and every assignment I’ve completed up until this point, but no one has the time for that. Those four words get right to the essence of my college experience.

However, if I must provide detail, one of the things I have learned is that you’re forced to grow up overnight. Most of us had been getting accustomed to the adult life slowly over the summer leading up to our freshmen year, but the moment you step on campus, that’s it. There is no turning back. You’re an adult. You remember the years before fondly (or maybe not), but you can tell that the innocence is slipping away with every essay and presentation.

But from this I learned that the innocence you hold onto can be the simple things. You can hold onto the enjoyment of watching your favorite show in the comfort of your favorite shirt or the joy you feel when your high school friends visit you during breaks to play board games and buy you bubble tea.

I learned your innocence disappears for the most part, but in those moments, the innocence remains. By allowing yourself time to do the things that bring you happiness, you can hold on just enough to remind you that life is not all about stress.

Which is where the last portion of those lyrics comes into play. All I have done throughout these past two years is allow myself to enjoy the little things. While that wasn’t something new I had learned to do (I had a sign in my high school cubicle that said “Enjoy the Little Things.” It was from Claire’s and covered in painted flowers), I thought it was something important to mention.

I’ve met so many people since I got here, and sometimes I think we do not stop to appreciate the little things we encounter. We are so focused on the next big step that we don’t always appreciate things such as the milkshakes we buy or the people who stop to actually ask you how your day is going.

College is just a lot, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we can’t let college consume us. We have to be able to enjoy our time here. Enjoying the little things seems to be the only thing we have at times, so why not make it a priority?

We learn a lot at college, but what I’ve taken away from my time so far is that no matter how high the stress levels are, we still deserve to be happy and to feel innocent and carefree, if only for an hour. So from here, I’m going to keep enjoying the pictures I take with strangers’ dogs and the concerts where I don’t know a single lyric, because college is a lot, but it’s not everything.

Originally Published with The Globe
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