The opportunities and pitfalls of college


With so much experience and intellect packed into one place, you can learn about pretty much anything at UConn.  Photo from

With so much experience and intellect packed into one place, you can learn about pretty much anything at UConn. Photo from

 It may seem overstated, but college is a lot more enjoyable than any schooling before it. Of course, we are all here to get an education and ultimately catapult ourselves into a better job and life. But along the way, there are parties, clubs, events and friends to indulge in. When 20,000 young people are all concentrated in one space with plenty of free time, that’s what happens. 

For many students, college represents the beginning of freedom in life. A first foray into adulthood for many, undergraduates may find themselves only really shackled by impending student loan debt. Of course there is a lot of work to be done, but there is also a lot of time around that to explore. 

This is a lot of fun and it can be indulged in especially during freshman year, when work is comparatively simple and new experiences abound. The only fear is that the fun can be overindulged. When you spend all waking hours around thousands of other irresponsible young people, you can slip into some bad habits.  

It doesn’t even have to be as deep as the stereotypical high-alcohol, high-sex frat parties. For on-campus and commuter freshmen alike, it can be as simple as not realizing that you stayed up until 3 a.m. every night for the past week. After all, there are no parents to keep you honest.  

So a balance must be found. There is not enough time in the day to join all the clubs, and there is not enough time in the evening to hang out with everyone. Part of the freedom of coming into your own is realizing that you need to make choices.  

With that in mind, there are so many wonderful choices to make and get swept up in. At the University of Connecticut’s 10 colleges, students can pick from over 110 majors. If you want to study turfgrass management, go right ahead. If you want to prepare for a career in puppetry and environmental sciences, it’s an option. Even if you want to learn how to be an engineer in Germany, there’s a program for it.  

In addition, there are always ways to supplement your education. Speak with a professor if you want to learn more about their work. Take classes outside of your comfort zone. Look for more resources to perfect your craft. With so much experience and intellect packed into one place, you can learn about pretty much anything at UConn. 

There’s over 600 clubs to fall into on campus, although you will probably drop down to a handful by your second year. Because of all the aforementioned free time, college is the perfect time to pick up a hobby that you’ve always been interested in. There’s sure to be others looking for the same experience.  

Finally, there are potential friends all around. From those sitting around you in your classes to your floormates, there is always the chance to meet and connect with new people. And if any event says it’s an opportunity to “network,” that’s just a gross business codeword for “make friends.” Everyone is looking to live their life to the fullest in college, so it’s not worth it to get bogged down in overworking and nervousness. For the incoming freshmen, think about how shy you may feel about beginning this chapter of your life. All the other freshmen feel the same way.  

Basically, college is one of the best things you can put yourself through. You learn, you work hard, you have fun. Just try not to indulge too much in any one. A balance will suit you much better for this important step in your life.  

Peter Fenteany is the associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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