The teenage years and early twenties are definitely the best days of our lives. Having the craic and being a legend are on the top of our priorities and we have all the potential in the world to do what we want.
There are an unlimited supply of opportunities at this time in our lives. This summer, I’m going on a J1 to New York for three months. At no other point in my life would it be this easy to drop everything at home and leave for a different continent. Students can take up summer internships in a different country, volunteer abroad or spend all summer at music festivals. There’s an endless list of opportunities waiting for us.
Few things are better than rolling out of bed in the middle of the day. It is a luxury that only students and toddlers have on any given day. Sure we have lectures to attend but our lives don’t depend on us going to them all.
Only at this time of our lives is it acceptable to drink as much as we want and laugh off the consequences. We can spend the night in a Garda station for not being able to pay for a taxi or we can eat more than our weight in Mc Donald’s after a night out.
At this time in our lives we have so much free time to do what we want. Being involved in societies can add so much to your college experience and to your CV. There are always events happening on campus and so many ways to get involved in what you love to do.
It’s so easy to meet new people and to make new friends every day. With all the different activities happening you’re constantly running into new people. Friendships are instantly formed on nights out and college is a time where you make best friends for life. It’s an extra bonus if you get to live with your best friends as they always guarantee a good night’s craic.
We’re at a stage where we’re constantly exposed to new ideas and experiences. We’re still learning something new every day and we’re learning about things that interest us. From courses to societies there’s so much for us to learn from.
Sure we have some stresses like trying to get assignments done and budgeting what little money we do have. But it’s nothing compared to the stress of working a full-time job, raising a family and paying off mortgages. At this stage in our lives, it’s ok to be selfish, a luxury that will soon disappear with age.
These years are our first taste of freedom, and though we don’t always handle it well, we have endless amounts of fun. We might wear shorts to college because we’ve no clean clothes or spend all of our money on alcohol. At the end of the day, YOLO.
By Catherine Devine
The Leaving Cert is behind us! Joyous day! Even though I never again have to know what to do with a trinomial or try to explain what was going through the murderous lady’s head in Cáca Milis, I often get the chills at the thought of the Leaving. For now, I live in the lap of luxury known as studenthood.
That is, until, I look forward again, past this part of my life.
College is very much a good time of your life. You’re young, possibly away from home for the first time, up in the Big Smoke, the world’s your oyster. You’ve probably decided on what you’re doing with your life too, so you start to plan accordingly.
You work and you learn, but you’ll be doing that all of your life. If you ever stop learning, you become complacent, no matter the comfort of the position you’re in. There’s lots to learn, so you whittle down the amount that you let in, deciding what’s actually useful to you in the years ahead.
But what you’re doing now won’t last. Times will change again, and become even better.
Maturity and youth are not parallel tracks, they meet at tangent points in your life. College is that first point, and it lasts for approximately five years. Perhaps only three of which are in college, the rest, you’re on your own. And that, to me, is more exciting than college.
While college is an incredible place to be, where you get your first taste of footloose and fancy freedom, but you still are restricted. You are given assignments and told to read x amount of chapters from a book that contains the opposite of interesting information.
When you move on from college, into The Real World, then you get your pure freedom. It’s really a terrifying prospect. You have to pay bills, commute, and learn what a tracker mortgage is. But you will spend a lot more of your life out of college than in it. That’s what’s exciting, the rest of your life.
I understand how it might be daunting to some, but we all face it. It’s intriguing times in Ireland, pulling ourselves out of the doldrums we were in into the early silver sunlight of fair to middling times.
Ahead of us is a family, our own house, a nice car, and the possibility of disposable income. Student life doesn’t account for a lot of disposable income, and the little we have goes towards travel costs and warm Jack Slatts.
College lets you decide who you want to be, but the times ahead let you go and be that person. Those will be the best days of your life.
By Kevin Kelly