In College and Feeling Hopeless? These Thoughts Are for You


College is expensive, the job market tight, and you wonder who that person in the mirror is. Maybe you feel internal or external pressure to choose a path, excel, or save the world. Some of you are living away from home for the first time, and others are still living under parental roofs. Either can be stressful, for students and parents.

The Problem of Existence

According to statistics, many of you are depressed or will become depressed while in college. It is difficult enough to get class assignments done when you feel good. If you begin school feeling great, not being able to keep up can cause anxiety. Add to this the craziness of our world and a person might wonder, “Why bother?”

That is a question many people ask throughout their lives. If you are someone who wonders about the meaning of your life, or of life generally, this question may be a life-long pop up, like the mole in Whack-a-Mole.

Some people find answers to big questions that stay with them to the grave, and others find temporary solutions that act as stepping stones throughout their life; though at times the stones are too far apart for smooth transitions. Others decide there is no meaning to existence other than what we might choose to give it.

Not Knowing is Normal

You are not required to have answers now, or know where your life is going. Some people know from early childhood what they want to accomplish as adults. These are the people who usually dedicate their lives to one thing, one subject. They may have questions and doubts about life as well, but they have direction.

Not all people are wired that way, and that is OK. It is possible that many of you are designed to have a few careers and to be distracted by numerous interests. Or, your interests may lead you to something you’ve not yet considered. Whatever your inclinations, it is wrong to believe that normal 18 and 19 year olds know who they are and what they want to do. There are many different flavors of normal.

Plenty of 50 and 60 year old folks are still waiting to discover what to do when they grow up. There are also many people who are 30, 45, 70, or 80 who wonder who on Earth they are and what it all means. Not knowing frustrates us, but also propels us. It makes life an adventure that may lead nowhere, but nowhere is somewhere.

One Adventure at a Time

A man named John Masefield wrote, “The hours that make us happy make us wise.” The author Oscar Wilde penned, “Life is too important to take seriously.” If anything, college should be a time of self discovery, and of enjoying the many different perceptions professors and other students offer. Learning, at its best, is a pleasure.

So, hats off to those of you who know where you’re going and view college as a means of getting there. The world needs people like you. For those of you who want to contribute something significant but feel lost, you can only do anything one step at a time. That fact annoys many of us but when in school, focus on enjoying school.

  1. If you do not know what major to choose, it is all right to pick a subject you enjoy. Whatever your bachelor’s degree is in, it does not dictate the rest of your life.
  2. If existence feels meaningless that doesn’t mean it is.
  3. If your mind is open, you will change it often in the years ahead.

Should your life is disrupted by symptoms of depression, seek help.


The article above reflects the author’s professional and personal experience, and experiences shared by others.

What are you reading?

The whole point of the article seems to be aimed at encouraging people NOT to become too self absorbed.

College is not for everyone but might have helped you with your spelling and grammar.


One of the worst articles I've ever read. Full of self grandizing pandering which will result in hours of counseling ($$). How could this actually help anyone do anything except sink deeper into their self absorption? Must you understand "existance" to become a productive member of society? NO. Most people don't get a clue until the third or fourth decade of life.
It starts out realistic though, "college is expensive". Far too expensive to waste money (probably your parens money) using this time to "focus on enjoying school" If you do not know "where you're going" don't pour money into some useless degree. Get a job. Here's another idea, join the military or peace corp. Do something, anything, to help other people. Getting outside of your delusion of entitlement works miracles in "finding yourself".
Eye opener: colleges are not there for any reason except profit. They do not care what you do with your life or whether you find the meaning of life. That's your job, not theirs.


I hope you take the time to re-read the article which is giving young adults permission to lighten-up and enjoy learning. Depression is widespread on college campuses and the article normalizes the uncertainties and pressures many college students feel.

The article points out that the meaning of life, which is an important subject to many students, is not something that can be nailed down. It can be elusive and changeable throughout life; and I agree it is not something college tries to, or can, provide.


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