College Daze with Mark Bieganski

By Mark Bieganski

Eating. Smoking. Drinking. A lack of sleep. Lots of frustration, a tad too much confusion and an overdose of anxiety.

Sound familiar?

Welcome to my life, and maybe yours as well. (No, I don’t need professional help – I’m just a little jaded at the moment.) While the two of us probably would make great case studies for learning psychiatrists, one thing we tend to forget is that in the end, we’re the ones able to make the choices that determine what paths our lives follow.

Let’s face it, life can, at most times, be overwhelming. But it’s only as overwhelming as you and I make it. While the age-old saying goes that you have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, I’ve discovered it’s a different story for some people, including me.

On one shoulder rests a developed, somewhat mature, knowledgeable 22-year-old (or however old you are) version of yourself. On the other, you see yourself with no worries and ready to do whatever crosses your path, sometimes finding yourself in a wad of trouble or wrapped up in situations detrimental to your existence.

One side usually ends up getting you into trouble, while the other shakes its head and tells you that you should know better.

If you haven’t come to the realization already, college is a lot about making choices: What should I major in? Where should I live? Where do I want to work?

Ha, enough with the boring ones.

College is a time in your life when you should experience life, live in the moment and not be afraid to let your walls down. But why is that such a hard thing to do?

My friends will tell you this about me, and yours probably about you, but that is something hard to do. Sometimes we think our lives seem so grand to others if we leave out the excess baggage. But we’re not leaving it out; we’re just not being honest.

With 25,000-plus students buzzing around campus, it isn’t a bad idea to be cautious of the people around you. But when you find people who know you inside and out, is it still necessary to remain closed off?

Maybe the problem is that we think too much about what we want, what we don’t want, what we can have, and what we can’t have that we get lost in actually doing something about it.

In relationships, is it better to be confined to one where you find yourself giving only 80 percent, but you know you can have, or is it worse to be trapped in a bubble where you can give 100 percent, but to what, you’re not sure of?

Is it better to dwell on how your relationships with your friends might be changed by factors such as other plans, distance or separation, or are you being too paranoid?

If college teaches us anything, one lesson should be to go with your gut and focus on the present. We’re not able to change the past, but learn from it. We’re not able to predict the future because it hasn’t happened yet. We can, however, attempt to live in the present, worries aside.

As much as we all continue to search for the “perfect” life, the reality is there is no perfect life. We all have walls. We all have problems. There’s going to be good times. There’s going to be heartache. There’s going to be happiness. There’s going to be depression.

Those are all things we never will be able to escape, but things we’ll have to learn to deal with.

The one thing in our favor, however, is that time still is on our sides. Every second give us the opportunity to make a change, to do something different.

Views expressed in this humor column do not necessarily reflect the Northern Star or its staff. Send questions and comments to