Tag Archives: college

10 Things I Feared in College


Okay, so some of these are legitimate (see numbers 7, 9, and 10). Most of them, however, belong in the slightly neurotic category. Read on and see if you can relate.

1. I only have four years and they’re supposed to be the best years of my life. I better get crackin’.
This one stressed me out beyond belief. I heard it from so many sides: “Oh my gosh, Catherine, college is amazing! Live it up! Go sky-diving and cliff-jumping, do a thousand missions trips and make 10,000 friends and REMEMBER EVERY MINUTE!” I heard all this, and then I got there…and it took work. I wasn’t cut out for college at first. I was curmudgeonly and set in my ways and annoying. I had to have my world rocked, and once I did, I was so much more open to the experience. It stressed me out, all the pressure I felt to make these four years phenomenal. But when I let go and just lived? They became pretty great.

The best years?

Probably not. But definitely wonderful.

Late-Night Swim 1[A little night-swimming does a body good.]

2. Is there a practice room open? Can I count humming as practice time? Listening? Audiating? ANYTHING.
As any music major will tell you, practice rooms are a prized commodity. At least when you want one. My favorite was the last one down the hall on the right, the one with the grand piano and huge window overlooking the quad. I liked it because I could get easily distracted by watching people pass by; I learned a pretty decent amount about my classmates through that window. I spent a lot of time trying to practice but feeling a mental block. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could count as practice hours (six hours a week per instrument is a lot, but apparently not enough to make me awesome…).

Me and Will

3. Am I gonna have to park in Woodland?!?!
Now this one is a near and dear worry for all my fellow college mates. There was no worse exile than having to park in Woodland. It felt like miles and miles away from campus, when in reality it was a hop-skip-and-a-jump and really, the walk did us good. But I remember circling and circling, just waiting for that prime spot. I especially hated parking there at night, walking alone along the road, wondering if anyone would hear me scream.

4. Do you think anyone noticed I wore yoga pants to Lane? Again?
I am ashamed (or not ashamed?) to say that I was a repeat offender in this area. Lane was our cafeteria, and I’d sneak into the food line, hoping no one realized I had terrible style.  I used to blame it on going to the gym and not having time to change (“I’m just sooooo busyyyyyy!”), but really it all came down to the fact that I hate changing my clothes. Hate it. It’s such a waste of time. Also, I really hate feeling restricted. I’d wear comfy yoga pants every day if I could.

Winter Ball1

[Winter Ball. Who needs a date when you’ve got so many hotties?]

5. Do I have time to run from Jenks to Claymore and back again before my next class?
As a double major (and like most college students, double major or not), I was always trying to squeeze as much into as little time as possible. You’d be shocked how much you could fit into a ten minute passing period, and I did my fair share of coffee-snarfing from Claymore. I always felt triumphant when I swooped into class – cup in hand, cheeks a little flushed – and sank into my chair, ready to have intelligent, academic discourse with the help of caffeine.


[I graduated the same year our president retired. Talk about leaving on a high note.]

6. If I workout for half an hour on the elliptical, does that negate the chicken fingers and fries I ate at late night?
Late night was the bane and blessing of the freshman girl’s existence. I can’t even tell you how many nights we sat around the dorm, looked at each other, and just got up silently to walk to Lane and stuff our faces with whatever fried option we felt like consuming at the time. There’s something about a floor full of girls and 10:30PM that just demands greasy food.

The half hour on the elliptical? Didn’t quite cut it, but it’s all about perception, isn’t it?

229782_10150230247505972_577485971_8459310_1237818_n[Four generations at my senior recital.]

7. What the heck are student loans and how do I avoid paying them back?
UUUUGGGGHHHH. Figured this one out. And no, there is no way to avoid paying them back. Enjoy the next fifteen years.


[I learned how to sacrifice attractiveness for a laugh.]

8. When I graduate, will anyone even remember I existed?
This one really bothered me. Maybe I’m just more self-centered than most. It seemed crazy to me that I was putting so much love and effort and energy into a place that wouldn’t even remember my name in a year. So what if I rocked my senior recital? So what if I had a radio show (that no one listened to) where we talked about art and poetry and faith? So what if I was editor of the lit journal. NO ONE CARES. Someone else will just take my place and change everything and where will I be? Slogging away at some 9-5 trying to make those student loan bills…


senior formal

[There’s something about senior formal. Makes you dance your little heart out.]

9. The business majors always act like they know what they’re doing…maybe I should marry one.
This one? Probably true. I should’ve put a little more effort into this.

IMG_0313[Best day of my life, thus far.]

Also, definitely a legitimate fear. I do not have complete control of my body. I rarely walk around without bumping into things, and the President looked so far away, smiling his toothy smile, holding that bizarrely-empty diploma cover. I tentatively walked by (I had wisely chosen flats on this day-of-all-days), grinned when I finally reached him, shook his hand steadily, and walked off the stage.

Crisis averted, empty diploma case in-hand.

Ten things I no longer need to fear.




Dating in College?!


“What’s dating like in college?”

My senior girls looked earnestly at me over their lunches. There’s no denying that having five guys in your year at school doesn’t play in your favor.

“Not so great,” I said, and regretted it immediately.

I scolded myself because I knew the door I’d just opened wouldn’t be closed easily. They wanted to know why – their eyes crestfallen, their hopes dashed by one sentence.

I prefaced everything with: “Well, you know things didn’t end well for me, so my opinions are skewed – I’m sure if I married someone I dated in college, I would have a very different view.”

But as I think about it now, hours later, I wonder if this is true. Because even if I had married someone I dated in college, that wouldn’t change the fact that the whole thing was quite awkward and oddly polarizing and much more work than I ever thought it should be.


I told them I went to a small Christian college.

I told them I loved it there, but that there was a strange social construct around dating. That you don’t date, actually, but you have a boyfriend. That going on dates wasn’t really something you did. You either were in a relationship or you were starkly single.

That some girls could have guy friends, but lots couldn’t.

That I was never once asked out on a date, but somehow found myself “dating” two boys over my four years.

That there was pressure from people immediately.

That I didn’t know any better.

That there is such a thing as a good relationship. And a bad relationship. And somewhere in between.

That even though I praise God for sparing me from a terrible choice, it doesn’t change the fact that I had been wooed (or wooed myself) into thinking it was the right choice.

I told them all this over lunch, in the senior lounge, them leaning across the table.

They’ve been waiting four years to date, college beckoning to them, claiming to be full-to-bursting with attractive, single, emotionally mature young men.

And I said, “The thing is, girls, you’ve been waiting four years to date, but when you get to college, you realize they’re all the same boys.”

They’re all the same boys.

And yes, there are winners. There are awesome young men who know what they want and will treat you well.

But they’re just a few months removed from high school. Just like you.


When I was sure I’d bruised their hopeful hearts forever, I tried to make things look less bleak. I told them about my dating experience since college – how I’ve been on dates and not felt pressured (Is he the one? Who cares?! I’m in my twenties and I’m figuring out who I am and who I want to be with! It’s a first date, darn it!). I told them it’s been a lot better, that I’ve filled my coffer with story after story – some good, some bad, most hilarious – and that even if their dating lives in college aren’t all they thought they would be, there’s hope.

I did not go into detail (trying to keep some boundaries), but I wish I could’ve told them how dating in college seems to be more about who you think you’re supposed to be instead of who you are. At least it was that way for me. I might have told them that I’m happier than ever, and regardless of what my future dating brings, I know I am a better person for giving it a try.

They’re sure to at least have good tales to tell me when they visit in the summer.

I should’ve told them to start a blog about it.


[Dating for Dummies photo: ZacVTA]

[Czech Couple photo: Ard Hesselink]

[Seville Couple photo: BMP]