As a young professional (and server), I am surrounded by friends who are still pursuing their degrees. I’m not sure if it’s the unwillingness to grow up (and grow boring) or the effect their youth has on me, but I often dream of my college days. I think back to the months before graduation where I would have done anything to grab my degree and wave goodbye to the years of my nose in textbooks… then I laugh. There are too many things now that I miss about college (and you might too).
Here they are:
1. Variable Schedules.
I’ve always embraced change. In fact, one of the things I hate is repeating things. Driving to and from the same place, on the same path, twice in the same day could kill me. In college, my class schedules varied. We had random Tuesdays off to enjoy a beautiful day near the river and skipping class was acceptable. Skipping work… that’s not a thing. With a full-time job, the work grind remains the same—8 AM to 5 PM Monday-Friday every week of every month of every year.
2. The Lack of Hangovers.
Seriously, who decided hangovers would remain dormant until you turned 23?
3. Not Having To “Adult.”
If my professors would have offered a class on “How to Adult” in college, I would have taken it. Who would have thought it would take so much energy to be a grown up? How was I supposed to know the amount of stress I’d endure? I’d take homework any day.
4. Drinking on Weeknights.
When I first graduated, I didn’t know how to adult. I continued my Wisconsin-taught drinking habits after work. What could a few drinks hurt? I learned quickly that waking up for class and throwing on sweatpants is much easier than the effort it requires to be productive at work. Oh! And wreaking of booze was acceptable for class… for work, not so much.
5. The Opportunity to Enjoy Summer.
Sure that part-time college job paid like shit, but the benefits were out of this world. (No, not health benefits.) As a server, I’d have days off until 4 PM or work a 3-hour lunch shift. What a drag. Now, the summer sun radiates through the office windows, taunting us on the warmest of days. On the weekends, it rains.
6. Celebrating Birthdays.
There must be some unwritten rule that after you turn 23, celebrating your trip around the sun isn’t worth a few drinks. In college, we’d celebrate every birthday, whether it was a Monday or a Friday. It was just another excuse to get together. Since graduating, I’ve found I need to twist people’s legs to get them to show up for a free cupcake. Oh you’re tired? Your boyfriend is in town? You can’t get a babysitter? Come on, people.
7. The Best Bar Scene.
In college, bars were our own personal party venue, because all of your best friends drank in one place. Now, I feel out of place in a bar because it’s no longer appropriate to wear a transparent shirt. Oh, and everyone looks about 12 years old.
Netflix marathons and naps were possible in college (not that I had a ton of extra time, but enough). Now the nights I have off are dedicated to doing laundry, buying groceries, and working off the freshman 15 that just didn’t get the memo that I graduated.
9. Friends Close By.
Friends awaited you at every corner (and lived within blocks of you). You could meet new friends at the library, in your classes, and (obviously) at parties. Heck! I got to live with four of mine. Now, my friends live hours and even states away. We spend more time talking about when we can see each other than the time spent actually hanging out.
10. Loan Refunds.
March, as a student, meant spring cleaning, a.k.a. “Let’s clean out our bank accounts ‘cause I just got a refund!” Whether we spend it on clothes or electronics, we always felt rich… if only for a little while.
11. Cheap Rent.
I may have lived with four other women in college, but I’d kill to write a check for $230 per month again. Living alone gives me the opportunity to bask in the OCD perfectionism that I prefer, but imagine what a person could do if their rent was a third of the cost!
12. Student Pricing.
Pizza, sports games, drinks, movies, and most importantly, back-to-school gadgets, like iPads and Macbooks were cheaper for students. Now, when I attend a baseball game, I pay triple what I did then. Do people think our entry-level jobs are paying the big bucks, and we don’t have student loans? Doubtful.
13. The Ability To Accept We Were Poor.
In college, nearly everyone was broke, so not having money didn’t seem like a big deal. We would scrape up some change to grab $1.50 beers and sing karaoke on Wednesday nights; ramen was always on the grocery list. We accepted it. Now that I’m a full time, working adult with two jobs and I still don’t have money, it’s not as funny. It’s just stressful.
In the end, for every detail we miss about college, there’s another adult milestone we can look forward to. Like being able to rent a car once you turn 25! Or the fact that we’ve stopped accumulating student loan debt. Now that’s something to be thankful for.
Featured photo via amazon.com