Commentary: Simple advice for college students

Many of us fondly remember our college days as the last pure taste of freedom before being saddled with careers and families and mortgages and all the other things we thought we wanted.

College was that first taste of independence but with the added safety belt of a college infrastructure providing all of life's necessities and often the financial support of parents.

You still could eat what you wanted, stay up as late as you wanted, meet all the new friends you wanted. As long as you made it to class, got decent grades and managed to come out at the other end with a diploma, life was good. And fun.

But today's college students must be a different breed. Eighty-five percent reported feeling stress in a recent poll. Money, grades, relationships and homework topped the list of stressors.

That doesn't sound too different from what the rest of us worry about every day. Just substitute work for grades and homework, and it's all the same.

But it's not supposed to be.

Yes, students should take college seriously, but a large majority of them shouldn't report feeling depressed or even hopeless.

Alarmingly, 11 percent of students in the poll had the idea they'd be better off dead or had thought about suicide.

College is about so much more than a diploma, and these overstressed young people are missing out.

Lifelong friendships are formed in college. Lasting memories of road trips and camping outings fill the memory banks.

Our boyfriends and girlfriends may not have been lifelong, but they helped us figure out how to be in grown-up relationships later in life.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.