In 1991 or so, after having dropped out of college for a couple of years, I finally realized: "College" doesn't equal "Enlightenment." All of your friends have graduated or are graduating. You must, too, or you're going to be seen as a "loser." I got my degree in 1993.
Seriously, at 18 I went into college thinking/expecting that I was going to be "enlightened" intellectually, thinking that that was what college was for.
Along the way, I realized that it was a shill. No professor really cared about my enlightenment. They were just there.
I first entered UT-Austin in 1983 after graduating from Azle High that spring. Attended full-time for 3 years, then drifted in and out. Finally perceived realism in '91 and took the classes necessary to finish up. Sans any Romanticism about "college life."
At 50, and never married, I'm pretty sure that "marriage" was (and is) such a thing: If you're not feeling it for so long, better just go ahead and get married and have the babies. Just to do it.
With college, I never "felt it." But I finally just "did it" because I knew it would help me career-wise in the future.
With marriage/child-bearing: Was it the same thing? Women, if they didn't FEEL it, finally just doing it for the sake of doing it.
What I personally always wanted was a mate to talk to and travel/discover things with. At age 50, I haven't found such a person. But I'm currently mightily lonely and bereft. I wonder if, in the future, I'll find someone just to find someone. I hope not. But... "just making do" happened with college. I suppose it could happen with a companion.
When I "settled" re my college degrees (BA at UT and later my MA at SF State, where I also felt nothing but disdain), I also ultimately got some cold satisfaction out of it: the degrees and the subsequent "respect." The Something being better than the absolute Nothing I would have received from the Universe before.