Arment: Enduring college

College can be a hard gig sometimes, especially if you are working to put yourself through it. It seems like you’re constantly breaking your back to get ahead, and at best, you achieve a marginal amount of breathing room that is swept away as soon as you walk into class the next day and your professor assigns a mountain of homework.

For those of you that are reading this and nodding your heads, I feel you. You are definitely not alone in the thankless struggle. This last weekend I attended a welcome-home party for a friend of mine that was back in Iowa for a few days, taking a break from his career in the Marines. It’s hard for me to justify not doing work for a night, but for a fellow jarhead and long-time friend, I took the night off.

During the party I ran into someone from my high school that I make a point to avoid when I see around. He’s just one of those guys that doesn’t get it, and doesn’t try to get it — saying ignorant things and asserting himself in haphazard manners that make you cringe. We got to talking and he asked me what I was going to school for. “I’m an English major,” I said.

His drunken face blanked out for a second as he looked at me and he said, “You can’t write.”

That’s the way it goes, though, people don’t hesitate to cut you down when you’re struggling to do something that matters to you. For the students that work day in and day out, putting themselves through college, trying to get all of their homework done and wracking up massive amounts of debt, this struggle is marked with isolation. It’s hard to get out and be social when you constantly have your shoulder to the grindstone.

If your parents are paying for your stuff, you’re privileged, plain and simple. Make time for your friends who don’t have time to go out. I know, it’s asking a lot of any one college student to think of someone else other than themselves for even half a second. I think it’s not too much for me to ask, though.

One thing I’ve noticed lately and found a little humorous is those college students that put on the airs of the self-made man [or woman]. They act like they are breaking their backs toiling, but have their parents paying for their rent, tuition, books and car payments. I’m not mad at them, it’s great that they don’t have to worry about such things. I just don’t think a person should play around about their situation.

Acting like you’re pulling yourself up by your boot straps when you haven’t even started to pay the dues some of your peers have is just bad form, and you aren’t fooling anyone.

To the students who are struggling to make ends meet, Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Don’t give up, and don’t expect a pat on the back. The struggle is the glory.