College on Instagram vs. Real Life

Believe it or not, we are 5 weeks into the semester. With my procrastination skills in full gear, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed looking and seeing what my friends have been up to this weekend. In between all the posts of puppies and food that was making my mouth water, I started to become envious of their action-packed college lifestyles. Students are posting pictures of going out on the weekends, attending football games and other sporting events, going to pumpkin patches, mini-road trips, and more.

As I reflected on my own student experience, I questioned how students have so much time to finish homework, sleep, eat, work, and still partake in social activities. I started to wonder if other students on campus magically had 30 hours in a day, whereas others only have 24… I started digging and figured there had to be some explanation.

I came to the conclusion that Instagram does not portray the real life of a college student. Although it looks like college is all fun and games, here’s what the student experience is really like…

  • The typical college student experiences sleep deprivation for four straight years. We stay up until the sun starts to peak above the horizon. We also sometimes don’t even set alarms because we know we’ll still be awake doing homework and studying for exams.
  • We plan our days down to the minute to try and squeeze in a 36 minute nap since we only got three hours the night before.
  • While Instagram pictures show students to be carefree and jolly, inside we’re actually having a breakdown because we know that no matter how much we study for the exam the upcoming week, it’s going to be impossible to pass.
  • In addition to stress from exams and papers due at 11:59pm, we also have weekly breakdowns about what classes to take, graduation, and the most stressful, trying to figure out what will happen after college.
  • When we finally have some free time during the week where we don’t have classes, meetings, or extracurricular activities, it quickly gets snatched by work.
  • The real life of a college student involves caffeine. Lots of caffeine.
  • And before we drink caffeine, we have a little argument with ourselves wake up and get out of bed to go to class.
  • Because homework, work, studying, and lack of sleep isn’t difficult enough, we also worry about gaining the freshman 15 and having to find time to squeeze a workout in.
  • Throughout the week, Netflix becomes one of your best friends to help sooth you after a hard exam.
  • And while it looks like the weekends are fun and memorable experiences, they quickly come to a halt when the mounds of homework pile up for the next week.

While it is often believed that college life includes partying, going to football games, and meeting lifelong friends, there is a lot more that students endure. Instagram might not be an accurate representation of what college life is actually like, but the memories from those pictures help to make the college life a memorable experience.