Graduating college is a lot like being broken up with. After you’re dumped, you feel like the world is over. You feel like that’s it — you’re never going to find anything as good again. But after a while — after you start semi-enjoying single life or you find someone just as good, you realize your last relationship wasn’t all good. In fact, there was actually a lot wrong with it. The same goes for when you graduate. After college decides it’s done with you, you block out ‘the bad’ and wish you could go back to being a student because you apparently loved every minute of it. But did you really?
It takes time, but eventually you’ll start to move on from college and realize that not everything about it was vodka and rainbows. So while you sit there whining and complaining, ‘Wahhhh. I want to go back to college,’ make yourself feel slightly better by remembering all the things you didn’t enjoy about it. Because believe me — there were things. All the things:
1. Class. Well, duh. After being done with school for good, you finally don’t have to go to class anymore. Sure, you might miss the socializing you did during class and the amount of people your age surrounding you on a daily basis, but having to sit through boring lectures about shit you didn’t care about in the middle of the day (especially when hungover) was not ideal.
2. Nights spent doing work. Ugh, remember all the time you spent in the library? Or at the computer lab? Remember those nights spent in front of your MacBook Pro (or whatever computer you had) attempting to do work but instead going on FB every 5 seconds because you couldn’t focus? Remember staying up until 4am doing homework? 4am?! How did you stay awake that late sans drinking? Oh right. You were probably drinking. Or not.
3. Group projects. Whether you were friends with the people in your group or not, group projects sucked. You had to find time to meet — and this was hard especially with those on sports teams, those in clubs, and those with really extreme social lives. Also, everyone had four (or at least around four) other classes going on — all at different times. It was like teachers thought their class was the only class we were taking! Wow do I remember complaining about every day.
4. (Some) RAs. I almost didn’t put this on the list because most RAs didn’t really do anything. They were just there for the free housing. And to help us when we asked for it. Like, one time an RA saved me when I drunkenly slept through a fire alarm. Which reminds me…
5. Constant fire alarms. Why did the fire alarm go off so much in dorms? I know sometimes people would pull it… but come on — was there really a need for weekly 3am wake up calls by fire alarms? The worst was when you were in the shower. And it was Winter. Hello snow — do you like my towel?
6. Dorm bathrooms. The line for girls to take a shower on Friday night was always extreme. Obviously we would all want to shower at the same time — duh. The worst thing about showering though was the AWFUL shower caddies we had to buy. Sooo college. And let’s not forget the toilets. Being in a dorm meant you would have no bathroom privacy for a longgg time. So if you had a fear of number 2-ing in public, you were pretty much screwed (this is probably the reason my stomach is so messed up — I basically didn’t go to the bathroom for two years).
7. Other dorms’ bathrooms. It was bad enough using your own shared bathroom… but after a while you kind of sort of got used to it, so having to adjust to a new shared bathroom was worse. I mean, you would never know who you would run into. The worst was when you were sleeping at a hookup’s and you had to go across the hall or down a floor to your sex’s part of the dorm to go to the bathroom and you had to hope no one would see you because they would be like ‘what are you doing here?’ And you would be like ‘oh I don’t know…’ as you would stealthily run away in size 12 slippers and really baggy sweatpants. Awk.
8. Crowded house parties during Freshman (and Sophomore) year. Yes, this is also on the list of things I miss about college… but when looking back, I often wonder WHY I enjoyed these parties. First, you had to walk into a house or apartment owned/rented/or whatever by strangers. You had no idea what kind of people lived there (you didn’t even really know if they were students). You had no idea what kind of people (if any) were going to be there. You just got a response to your mass text of ‘what’s going on tonight?’ from someone with an address, so you decided to go to that address because why the fuck not. You were sketchy, and it was fine. Even if these parties were ‘good’ (for ex: a frat or a [insert sport here] house), there were most likely many things wrong with it. Starting when you arrived. Kegs were tapped. Booze was gone. You couldn’t even move. Like, physically move past other people. And when you left, your North Face was gone because everyone else had North Faces… so what did you do? You took someone else’s. Whatever. At least you had warm Uggs to walk back in (assuming you were a girl attending college somewhere in the North East).
9. Sharing rooms. Talk about no privacy. College, until you grow too old for the dorms, is the land of absolutely no privacy whatsoever. You had to share a room. Sure, you had the option of getting a single, but it cost more AND you had to make friends so you really NEEDED that roommate — even if he or she turned out to fucking suck. When you needed to be alone, there was no where to go… and when you were sexiled, there was also no where to go. Do you know how many people had and have sex while their roommates sleep/lie awake in dorms? A lot. Also — sharing a room with one person was bad enough, but some people were forced to share a room with TWO other people. Yes — the triple. Do you know any groups of three people that lived together that are all still friends to this day? Because I don’t. A triple was closed quarters of doom.
10. Twin XL beds. Not only did we have to share rooms, but we had to sleep on beds made for mini people. Like, what was our dorm room? A center for ants? Res life should have known most people were going to end up sharing their beds with someone else… soooooooo why not make them bigger? Do you know horribly painful it is for one’s back to share a twin bed? I mean seriously. You should really be paying my chiropractor bills.
11. Signing up for class. Why was this always so hard? Why did we have to wake up so early to do it? Why did NO ONE ever get into any of the classes they wanted? Maybe this was just how Ithaca College did things… but it was a serious problem that brought many college students on rampages straight to their advisor’s office.
12. Textbooks. Why did textbooks cost so much? And why weren’t they included in tuition? Why did some teachers insist on us buying textbooks that we weren’t actually going to use? Especially ones that were really expensive? Couldn’t we get that information somewhere on the Internet? I mean, who actually reads such large books anymore anyway? Ugh, knowledge. Eventually you got to sell your textbooks back because you only really needed it for four months… but you only got like 10 dollars back. Seriously? For me, end-of-semester-textbook-money went to one of two things: a new sweatshirt from the college bookstore OR alcohol. So, I guess that was a perk. Kind of.
13. Classes where you didn’t know anyone. The worst. Not knowing if anyone you knew was going to be in a class with you caused many a college student great anxiety. You never knew what you were getting yourself into. Maybe you would walk in and see one or more people you were actually kinda sorta friendly with. Maybe you would walk in and see a random you hooked up with once last year. Awkward. Maybe you would walk in and sit down at a random desk and later watch a couple people you know of (but aren’t sure if they knew you) walk in. Or maybe you would legitimately know no one. And if that was the case, actually walking into that class was always super awkward. Especially if it was practically full and you had to take a random desk. In the front. Ugh.
14. Getting alcohol. It’s not badass to participate in underage drinking in college. It’s normal. So when you had trouble getting alcohol in college, it made you feel like such a loser. How did you know no one with a fake? How did you know no one that was 21? What were you going to DO?! I actually can’t remember how I got the majority of my alcohol in college, but I do know I always somehow found a way… so that was good.
15. Fake IDs. If you had one, it was scary using it. There was always a chance it wouldn’t work. Meaning it could get taken away. Meaning you could get in trouble with the school… or the police. And if you didn’t have a fake… well, why didn’t you have one? Everyone had one. Maybe you didn’t have the money to pay for it. Maybe you didn’t want to pay for it. Maybe you didn’t know where or how to get one. But in reality, it was mostly because you really didn’t want one of those shitty Maine IDs and no one would give you their sister’s, brother’s, or cousin’s real ID — even though you looked identical to, like, every 21 to 26 year old you knew. Oh well.
16. The Dining Hall. The food at the dining hall was the worssssssst. Well, at first it was awesome because there were so many options and you could sit and socialize in that place for hours. AND, you could have cereal and ice cream for dinner! Or more like have cereal for desert after you already ate dinner because, well, it was there and you weren’t leaving your table squished with 10 other people any time soon. Eventually, you got sick of the dining hall food though and the weight you were gaining from it. But you weren’t about to become a chef in your dorm kitchen. You could barely store enough to live off in your micro-fridge anyway. So you either went straight up ano, tried to live off of Lean Cuisines, or sucked it up and ate at the d-hall anyway. And when you moved into an apartment or left campus, you ditched that meal plan STAT.
17. Walking. Oh man, you had to walk everywhere in college. Whether it was walking to class, the dining hall, the gym, a party, a friend’s dorm — you walked everywhere. And let’s not forget about walks of shame. You couldn’t just call your friend to pick you up or hail a cab. You had to walk. Because almost everyone lived in walking distance of one another. How convenient… yet embarrassing.
18. Seeing past hookups all over the place. They were everywhere. And the encounters were often completely unavoidable. This made it semi-okay to run into past hookups and casually flash one of those super manly head nods at each other… but in reality — how awkward was that?
19. Campus police. These people were on their high horse, right? I mean, we were in college. No, we most likely weren’t 21… No, we weren’t supposed to be drinking open containers outside and in the halls of dorms… And no, it probably wasn’t safe to drunkenly walk across campus alone while stumbling and holding back vomit… but we were college students, so it was totally fine and normal. Campus police were obv just jealous and bored. I mean, they weren’t even real cops (the classic line we all loved to use). The worst was the student campus police. At Ithaca, they were called SASP. Ahh, SASP.
20. Moving. We were always moving. Always. First, we moved in — always to a different place than the year before. Then we would have to pack to go home once or twice a semester. Then we would ‘half-move’ home for Winter break (going home for a month meant packing a lot of shit!). Sometimes people would have to completely move home for Winter break too if they were moving to a new place the next semester. Then, we would move back, maybe go home or away for Spring Break, and then move home for the Summer. So. much. moving. Make it stop.
21. Forced friendships. Since you were forced to live in tight quarters freshman year — usually with a random as your roommate — most likely not knowing ANYONE at the entire school except yourself and maybe one or two other people you went to high school with (maybe), you had to hang out with the people on the floor of your dorm. Unless you were on a sports team that arrived to school early, that was how you had to meet people. Of course, once school got going, you met people in your classes, in clubs, on teams, etc… but not everyone lived near you — and you weren’t always up for a 20 minute walking adventure to go drink in someone else’s dorm. Okay — wait a minute. Yes you were. But you get the point.
22. Failed friendships. Because of the above ‘forced friendships,’ you were bound to have many failed friendships. Not everyone can be friends with each other. You were also overly friendly to like every single person you met Freshman year and found yourself texting a million people every weekend. After a while, though, you stopped because you realized half of these people were not actually your friends. It took a while, but by the time college was over, you were (hopefully) able to distinguish ‘friend‘ from ‘acquaintance.’
23. Not being able to go home when you wanted to go home. Okay, maybe this still continues now for you post-grads away from home… But after you’ve been graduated for a while, you tend to have an established ‘home,’ whether that home be with your parents, with roommates, with a significant other, or — if you can somehow afford it — with yourself. You’re no longer in temporary ‘dorm’ housing. You no longer know that there is a time in the future where you will be leaving ‘this place.’ Your home is your home. Yes you did love being at college most of the time… but there were also times where you moped around waiting Summer so you could end class, get away from everyone, and go home.
24. Campus jobs. Maybe you had work study and had to wear an embarrassing outfit while working at the dining hall. Maybe you didn’t have work study and therefore found it nearly impossible to get any part time work on campus at all (just because I don’t have work study, it doesn’t mean I have money!). Maybe you worked somewhere off campus that really cut into your
homework time social life. Or maybe you had to work an on-campus desk job with your ex-boyfriend. I mean, I did. But no matter where you worked, you were barely making any money. These jobs paid for maybe, like, one bottle of alcohol, a couple Chobani’s, some Lean Cuisines, and celery. Really? How do you expect us to live on that?
25. Being poor. Clearly, one bottle of alcohol, a couple Chobani’s, some Lean Cuisines, and celery wasn’t enough to get by on. You also needed new clothes (do you know how many pictures were taken of everything in your closet already?) and chasers. And what if you wanted to go out to dinner one night? Hi mom and dad, can you deposit some money into my bank account so I can have a social life? Okay, maybe you don’t miss that (if it actually worked for you) — but it’s much nicer having your own money now.
26. Finals. Each semester came down to this very special time: Finals Week. A week in which there were many tests — sometimes in the same day — that you had to cram for and many papers that you had to write. All in the span of a week. Or for most of us, a few hours. Some people got lucky and only had 2 or 3 finals… but others had 5 tests in, like, 3 days. Are you kidding? How was this okay? The worst was cumulative finals. How were we supposed to remember all of that shit? How?
27. Paying for it. Oh right, college cost money. Like, a lot of money. Like a lot a lot of money. Sure we had a lot of fun and learned some really cool things, but it also cost a fortune… which many of us are still paying for. And will be for a long time.
28. Leaving. There was always so much leaving during college. It was like ‘Hey, I just got here, but I have to go home again. Bye!’ We were always leaving for breaks, holidays, Summer, and semesters that it just got to be a regular occurrence. This is most likely why we were so confused when we left for good after graduation and never ended up going back. I wouldn’t want to get used to the ‘leaving’ lifestyle again. Sure, anyone can leave for somewhere new at any second… but now there’s no more of this communal leaving of everyone you know and having to say ‘bye’ to people on a regular basis. We might not be settled down yet, but we are much more settled than we ever were in college. Think about it.
So 20-somethings… what else don’t you miss about college?
[image credits: carrielkoch.com, www.bupipedream.com, blog.timesunion.com]