Why Am I In College?

Ijeoma Nwaogu
13. Thrive IN® - Why Am I In College?

Welcome to Thrive IN® and greetings from Houston, Texas. This is Dr. IJ your very own life coach. Thrive IN® is a life coaching podcast for college students. And believe me, you are in the right place if you’re eager to grow into your greatest self while making the most of your time in college. This is session number 13.

And for this session, I want to explore with you about what college is really all about. Once in a while, you may wonder like, what in the world is college all about and you’re trying to remember why you’re even there, especially when your experiences become really difficult or painful. And a lot of times students are going to college out of routine or automatically after high school because they believe that’s what they’re supposed to do in order to get a good paying salary position after college and they do this without a really deep and true understanding of why they are even there.

So think about it for yourself. Do you feel so immersed in what you’re doing without being sharply aware of why you’re doing the things that you’re doing in college? So my goal for you through this session is to help you gain a clarified perspective and focus on why you’re actually in college. And to remember why. And I believe this greater sense of clarity can certainly re-energize you and give you greater focus and reassurance as to why you’re going through the college experience.

So let’s talk about it. Why are you in college? As you enter a new semester in college or as you start college, I’m sure you were looking forward to four things: freedom, exploration, new relationships, and of course, fun. You’re looking forward to greater freedom away from home, going to bed when you want to, waking up when you want, but of course with greater freedom comes greater responsibility as we know.

And also as a college student, you’re looking to explore, have new experiences, and engage in activities that you’ve never gotten a chance to do before. And when it comes to new relationships, building new relationships with people who come from different backgrounds or geographical locations, and of course, you’re looking forward to greater fun as a college student. I know for me, I enjoyed dancing as a college student. I would always be up in nightclubs, all eyes on me, right, because I knew the latest dance moves and such, and I loved dancing.

And so that was what I got to do, that I didn’t necessarily get a chance to do in high school. And that was the highest form of fun for me. And another thing you’re looking forward to as a college student is to achieve your professional goals. And you achieve that by taking on a major, learning the coursework, trying to master some of the knowledge that you could bring with you as you pursue your career of choice.

However, apart from the academic knowledge as well as the things that you’re looking forward to like the freedom exploration, new relationships, and fun, college is also really important to develop you. To develop your character, to gain greater autonomy, and learning to be more independent, to learn how to become more resilient, to learn more about your identity, learning more about yourself and determining what you actually want in your life and in your work.

College is also a wonderful opportunity to learn life skills and life knowledge. And it’s also an opportunity to explore what success feels like—to get involved in leadership activities where you can achieve some of your goals within that organization or within that position to feel this sense of success. In summary, college is about all of these developmental aspects. For you to develop your character, to understand your values, and to decide whether or not your actions will match your values. And as I mentioned, more freedom leads to more responsibility.

And so that’s where the autonomy piece comes in, where you have to learn how to do things on your own, pay your bills, plan your budget, cook your meals, motivate yourself, all of those things. So let’s talk about the resiliency piece. College is the perfect experience for developing your resilience and resilience is needed for you to persevere in college and after college. How do you even develop your resilience? Your resilience is developed through hardships and that’s why your hardships are necessary.

But there’s an opportunity to get back up and keep going and try again and take the lessons that you’ve learned from those failures to do better in the future. And college is a pretty good training ground in helping you bounce back after a setback. And it’s a pretty safe space to do that. You’re around folks who are different from you, who come from different backgrounds upbringings, who have different social identities as you. College is a really good opportunity to learn about your own difference. to learn about yourself. To learn about your personality, all these things. It’s a good space to pay attention to what gives you energy, the things that excite you, because that’s probably the realm that you’re supposed to be involved in. Through all of your experiences in the classroom and outside of the classroom and through your relationships with your acquaintances and your friends.

They’re not fun to go through and college—heartbreaks or making a bad grade on an essay or a test. All of that could leave you questioning whether or not you’re supposed to be in college and leave you feeling pretty low. So understand that you’re not alone in these challenging experiences and they’re necessary in order for you to develop your resilience. And so resilience is developed by knowing that failure is inevitable.

You could learn much about yourself. Make sure you’re involved in the different activities that your institution presents on campus for you to learn different life skills. And advance your emotional intelligence and advance your interpersonal skills, to learn more about politics and to learn about your stance in society, all of these things are really important to learn while you’re in college to really explore a lot of these areas. So if I were to use a two-word phrase to sum up why you are in college, I would say: to explore. You are in college to explore. And know that people in your life may try to pressure you into one direction or particular career because they feel that it’s prestigious, or they feel that that’s the route you’re supposed to take.

But college again is a space for you to explore what you actually want for your life. Your career choice, or your trajectory is your choice to make. So you may be an individual who is absolutely convinced that they must remain in college that their goal is to stay in college and that’s wonderful. It may not be your desire to pursue college that’s also okay. There are different ways of achieving the goals you want in your life. College is just one way. But just know that there are several reasons why people may leave or drop out of college or find that they’re not able to complete the school year. For example, you may experience the death of a loved one, or you may have family responsibilities or family issues that drive you away from school and bring you back home.

Or you may struggle with your finances, and you may not have enough money to pay for your books or to continue classes or pay your tuition. Or you could get sick or you’re dealing with some sort of health concern that doesn’t allow you to show up fully and present in the classroom. Some students find that college is just too overwhelming and too hard. The coursework is not something that they feel that they can do. So that’s another reason why some students will leave school. Or you may simply not be interested in college. College is just not your cup of tea. You may be more interested in becoming an entrepreneur or pursuing any other thing that doesn’t require going to college.

A lot of students also drop out of college because they’re not clear about their direction in life. They’re not clear about their purpose or what they want, or their interests or their passions, and they feel like well, why am I even wasting my money if I don’t know what major I want to choose, or if I’m not really interested in going to school, or if I just don’t see myself continuing on as a student in college. Some people leave school because they’ve actually found a different interest outside of college. And sadly, some students will even drop out of school because they feel that they’re not supported in college or they feel like they don’t belong in that space.

Overall. My question for you is this. Why are you in college? What’s your motivation behind going to school? What will you do to make the most of your time in college? As I mentioned before, I believe college is about exploration. Exploration of yourself, of your interests of new relationships, all of that. So what are you doing to be explorative in college?

Well, that’s it Thrivers. It was a really short episode today, but I hope you get the point. I want you to really focus in on why you are in college. And before I wrap this session up, I’d like to invite you to visit my YouTube channel. It’s called College Life on Fleek.

Make sure you go to YouTube and subscribe to that channel. That’s another resource out there for you Thrivers who love watching YouTube videos. Also I invite you to connect with me at thriveinpodcast.com. You’ll find amazing resources that are just for you on that website. If you love what you’ve heard during this session, I also encourage you to rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts. What this does is it helps others college goers find this show and learn more about it.

Now, don’t you want all your friends to gain greater clarity and focus on the reason why they’re in college? Be sure to send this to a friend and send me a message on topics you’d like me to speak about. Feel free to follow and like me on social media at the handle, DRIJCLC, which stands for Dr. IJ college life coach again, that’s DRIJCLC. I’m wishing you a happy safe and thriving week. Join me for the next session. Love you.

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