College Isn’t and Shouldn’t Be the Best Years of Your Life


“College will be the best four years of your life.”

If you’re a high schooler, someone’s probably told you this. If you’re an adult, you’ve probably said this to some impressionable young person. If you think this sentence is bullshit and at worst a harmful sentiment to say or hear, you’re with me.

Imagine a statesman declares to his country’s citizens, “The best years of our country are going to be the next four years.” I would think, “So you’re implying that it’s all downhill after that?” That’s essentially what adults are telling young people when they say the above, whether they know it or not.

On the surface, the sentence seems optimistic and exciting, but it’s actually quite depressing. So if college is the best time of my life, what can I look forward to after graduation? Why can’t the best years of my life always be ahead of me? Or why can’t I look forward to enjoying each stage of my life for what can be? Youth brings wonder but naiveté; middle-age will give me freedom but responsibility; and old-age will deliver wrinkles but also wisdom.

So stop bandying about this saying. It shouldn’t be true so let’s not make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.