You know that old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”? I’m pretty sure whoever said that was talking about college. When I think back on my days in school at UW-Milwaukee, I remember doing a lot of complaining. Papers, finals, long walks to class in crappy weather… I always found something to whine about. But, now that I’m done with college and trying to navigate my way through this little thing we refer to as the “real world”, there are so many things I miss about college at UWM. Be forewarned, most of them (read: all of them) have nothing to do with academics. Sorry, mom and dad.
Thinking back, B.O.S.S. was totally something that I took for granted. Oh, you mean it’s a designated driver that will take you anywhere within a certain radius of campus any time between 6pm and 2am… for FREE? Something somewhat similar to this exists in the “real world”. It’s called a cab, and it’s definitely not FREE.
2. Pen Guy
The man, the myth, the legend. Pen Guy (also known as Eric… who knew he had a name other than Pen Guy?!) was always there when you needed a free pen and some Bible verses. Any day that I didn’t hear “Would you like some free pens?” echoing from a random campus sidewalk just felt empty, lonely and sad. This guy is basically an institution at UWM. With further research, I found that he has his own Twitter handle, Facebook page and even a short YouTube documentary. You go, Pen Guy. Do your thing.
Now here’s a guy that wanted to be a little more “in your face” about his religious beliefs. You could frequently see Jesusmobile slowly cruising around campus, and it was certainly a head turner. Even if you disagreed with just one of the 12,564 sentiments he had plastered all over his station wagon (which I’m pretty sure everyone did), there was still a small part of you that was giddy as a schoolgirl to see Jesusmobile rolling on by. I’ve heard that he recently switched from his legendary station wagon to a sedan. I don’t know why I feel a little bummed about this, but I do.
Greasy food and beer in the student union? What’s not to love!? I remember literally having dreams about their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. And, you could pretty much always count on seeing someone you knew because, uhhhh… you were in the student union.
5. SO MUCH FOOD Within Walking Distance
While we’re on the topic of food, let’s just talk about how many delicious and delectable meals could be devoured within like a 3 block radius. Oakland Gyros, Lisa’s Pizza, Jimmy John’s, Qdoba, Noodles, Quiznos… the list goes on and on. Plus, it was so easy to convince myself that calories didn’t count, since I was WALKING to get my meals. Hello, it took cardio to get here. Also, can we just take a minute to reminisce about the deliciousness that was Bella’s Fat Cat? R.I.P., Bella’s. You are dearly missed.
6. Spaights Plaza
Spaights Plaza is literally the heart of UWM… at least I like to think so. I have no idea how many times I crossed through the Plaza during my college career, so we’re just going to go with the super exact statistic of A LOT. One of my favorite things to do there was sit on a bench in between classes and just people watch. I mean it when I say that Spaights Plaza has some of the best people watching this planet has to offer. Better than Disney World. Better than Walmart. The diversity that can be seen in that one small expanse of campus is remarkable. In one corner you have the crazy man preaching to nobody about how masturbation will send you to hell, and in the other corner you have some guy leaning against a tree, smoking a cig and strumming his guitar. I overheard so many breakups, both in person and over the phone. I saw a lot of random flirtations, awkward phone calls home and not-so-discreet wedgie picking. I’m tellin’ you, it’s prime people watching territory. If you haven’t done it, go now. Run, don’t walk.
Oh, how do you even describe Pantherfest? I’ll just say that the best thing about Pantherfest isn’t the live music… it’s definitely the drunk freshmen. In fact, you don’t even need to GO to Pantherfest to be entertained by the intoxicated freshmen wobbling on their heels, all dolled up for the concert. You can just sit outside the union and watch them try to figure out how to get on the shuttle TO Pantherfest. Endless entertainment. And, it’s way more fun to watch than Kid Cudi anyway (side note: what happened to him?).
8. Free bus pass
I miss my free pass for public transportation. Ok, we all know it really wasn’t free. They roll the cost of that baby into your tuition. But, at least they made the effort to make it FEEL free. There’s no such thing as free transportation in the “real world”. Unless you’re willing to take a ride with a stranger in a windowless van, which I wouldn’t recommend.
9. My e-mail address
As if the transition after finishing college isn’t harsh enough, UWM just couldn’t wait to rip my beloved e-mail address away from me. I think they gave me a whopping 6 months before they deactivated my e-mail. I found out that after you’ve had that same e-mail address for four years, giving it up feels a lot like giving up your right arm. It was attached to pretty much EVERY internet account I have, so figuring out how to survive without it was a not-so-fun challenge. Honestly, how many students with my exact same name could you possibly have?! I’m going to be paying you for the next 20 years, so just let me keep my e-mail and a little bit of my sanity and we’ll call it even, ok?
10. Milwaukee… in General
Milwaukee is just an awesome city, and going to school there was an absolute blast. Summerfest, brewery tours, local theaters, delicious restaurants, museums, shopping, ice skating downtown in the winter, the Third Ward, Brady Street, Brewers games and just an all around cool, urban vibe. There was never a shortage of things to do, and you had that free bus pass to get you to all of them! So, the thing I miss most about UW-Milwaukee is probably just Milwaukee in general.
Alright, UWM alumni (current students, you go ahead and throw in your two cents as well), what did I leave out? Tell us what you would add to the list!