The Life of a College Student

Anna McNeill, Student Writer

OSU Campus

Sometimes in life, not everything is truly as it seems. Unlike the movies, college isn’t all freedom and happiness like it’s set out to be. Students in college face hardships in their everyday lives. 

From student debt to balancing multiple jobs at once, not all college experiences are glitz and glamor. This reality exists for college students like my brother, Colin McNeill, a 20-year-old Junior at Oregon State University who is on the road to overcoming these common college hardships. 

From living at home to living fully on college campus, McNeill had to turn his whole life around in order to be successful in college. He had to “learn to manage his time,” he said, when hassling the pre-med path, financial instability, and multiple jobs and classes. 

“I manage my time in college by setting out all the assignments that I have to do in my planner before the week starts,” said McNeill. “And overall just making a plan for each week so I don’t get distracted.” 

Though McNeill doesn’t express how hard college life truly is, he still struggles with finding balance and understanding when it comes to where he wants to end up in life. 

“My hardest struggle in college is finding balance between things such as social, school, and work life, being able to make enough money while spending enough time with the people that you want to be around,” McNeill said.

McNeill started college the same year that Covid-19 was introduced. So not only was it hard to switch to online classes, McNeill said, but it was also difficult to switch from his “bubbled” hometown of Lake Oswego, OR to Corvallis, OR. 

“It was very different from not living at home with your family so I had to adjust to that for honestly most of the first year, but it was a good experience on campus and had a lot of activities that you can do that you normally wouldn’t think about,” said McNeill. 

McNeill is currently double majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology on a career path into the field of medicine. Like all people though, he does get doubts about if this major is truly for him. 

“I do sometimes worry that I’m on the wrong path or in the wrong major mainly just because my interests have changed and evolved over the years since I’ve graduated high school and not that that’s a bad thing,” he said, “but I’m just wondering if what I’m doing right now is really what I want to stick with.”

One of the main concerns that McNeill has over his major is the financial struggle that comes along with it. Medical school, for a lot of people, results in paying off student debt for many future years to come. 

Although McNeill is passionate about his learning and what he is majoring in, the financial reality of it is that “it’s one of the main reasons why I would consider not going to college,” he said

The more time McNeill has had to navigate college, the more he’s learned to balance his life and understand that college isn’t perfect like everyone makes it out to be, it’s the experience that matters more.