We tend to have expectations about a lot of things in our lives. We expect certain things to be easy, some things to be difficult, and for us to be at a certain point in our lives by a certain time. Why do we even have expectations? What purpose do they serve? Expectations sometimes help us to create certainty for situations where we really don’t know what could happen, or situations for which there are many possibilities.

I’ve especially understood this to be true when it comes to college.

I think it is safe to say that when entering college, many first-year students have a lot of expectations about what it will be like. These expectations may stem from information provided by their older siblings, parents, movies, friends, the Internet, or any other source that describes the college experience. Personally, I faced a period in time where I expected to be that college student who had her whole life figured out. As only a first-year student I expected that I would know exactly what I wanted to do in life –  I would find a group of friends to hang out with forever, and I would be the most responsible, involved college student ever – all in my first semester. When those things didn’t happen, I started to feel out of place and confused.

After experiencing this empty feeling for some time, I slowly began to realize that I had many things to be grateful for. Although I hadn’t reached the place where I expected to be, that was okay. I reminded myself that everything happens in due time and sure enough, as I accepted where I was, I became proactive in reaching for my goals. I became a better version of me than the one I had expected to be.

Expectations may limit us to some degree. Therefore, when dealing with expectations, we should keep in mind the following:

  • Whatever is meant to happen, will happen, and that’s okay! Reality sometimes turns out to be better than our expectations.
  • Each person’s journey is unique. It cannot be compared to anyone else’s, and the progression of it is beautiful and necessary.
  • Expectations can make us less mindful of the beautiful experiences we’re having and will have. We need to learn to enjoy and accept where we are in the moment.
  • Expectations are not exactly the same as goals. Expectations are not as concrete as goals. When we expect, we assume. It’s a prediction really, and we’re not necessarily sure of them. Why not set goals instead? You can take steps to get to where you want to be, and feel good taking them!

It’s important for us to enjoy the process of life, and to be proactive in achieving what we want. In that way, we can fully embrace our journey. When we do so, expectations fade into the background. Accepting this mindset is important for our overall mental health, relieving us of anxiety or worry. Each story and experience is unique, flowing, and full of endless possibilities.

Let go of expectations, appreciate the present, and let the possibilities flow!

All the best,
Valencia Saint-Louis