Yea, yea, yea, we know. A top ten list is a paltry literary crutch. Deal with it. Here’s our top ten reasons why we miss college…
She Says: This List Could Be Infinite
When my husband first asked me what I planned to write for this blog, my smart ass remark was “I’m going to jot down the top ten things I miss the most about college, like we agreed.” Obviously discontent with this response, he pushed, “I know, but really, what top ten things will you write about?” Annoyed at his attempt to pry his way into my post before it was even posted, I quipped, “I only know one of the top ten things I miss so far, and it’s casual sex.”
I quickly ran into the next room and grabbed his Mac, knowing he would chase me down and tackle my witty little self if I didn’t have something valuable in hand to deter him. So here I sit, Mac in hand, reminiscing on some of the best days of my life.
The top ten things I miss most about college – in no particular order:
1. Beer Pong. Yes, perhaps a little trashy, but I was damn good. So good, in fact, that I was in a league that hosted the games at my house for two years … much to the dislike of my three roommates. I distinctly recall hitting the winning cup on several occasions. I distinctly remember this amazing game being a great excuse to get drunk. I distinctly remember … well, little else.
2. Taco Bell. How did Taco Bell become such a staple in the life of a college student like me, you ask? First of all, I weighed no more than a buck ten in college and seemed to be able to eat all the Taco Bell I wanted and never gain weight – unlike my stints at Subway and DQ which always seemed to pack on the pounds. Second of all, it was cheap as hell – a bean burrito with sour cream and a nacho supreme amounted to a mere $2.09 when I was in school. And finally, it was open 24/7 so the fourth meal always worked perfect after a night at the T-Room.
3. Speaking of the T-Room … who doesn’t love their college bar? As a UP student, one could not make a trip to the T-Room on a Thursday night without seeing all their closest friends and scoring mad deals on Bud Light. Plus, with the regular treat of John Stapleton, the one man cover band, even the most prudish of students ended up on the dance floor (or atop a table) by the end of the night.
4. Your neighbors are your classmates. As a grown adult, it’s easy to wish for the college days when you were invited to a BBQ and it was right next door. Throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, grab a rack, and walk 10 feet to what would inevitably be a great evening. Nowadays, our neighbors are young LDS couples that sneer as we sip wine on the porch while we watch them let their cats pee in our garden. And no, they don’t invite us to BBQ’s. Fun stuff.
5. Music. If you grow up in Seattle, it’s pretty tough to not have a good grasp on the music world. I listened to everything imaginable, or so I thought. It wasn’t until college that I was introduced to some great musicians and had my computer constantly playing something. Plus, with such great bands coming through Portland every weekend and playing at small venues like The Roseland Theatre, I had the privilage of seeing some great shows – Howie Day, O.A.R., 311, Method Man, Gavin DeGraw, and G-Love and Special Sauce – with just a few handfuls of other fans.
6. Naps. I have not taken as great a nap as the last one I took in college. Not only were they easy to squeeze in, they were never really just naps. I could take a three hour snooze mid-day and push through the rest of the afternoon like nobody’s business. The fact that my roommate and best friend both got Mono and slept incessantly as well helped a lot. Even in my most sick, exhausted, or hung over state post college, I struggle to get any shut-eye during the day.
7. Vacations. As an adult, I think vacations are just as great as they were in college, but very different. In college, road trips ran rampant throughout my schedule. They were cheap, quick, and some of the most hysterical moments of my life happened in my rusty red Geo Prism.
8. Online videos. I was in college long before YouTube made headlines, so for me and my 20 pound Dell laptop, downloading sketches from wherever the heck we used to download them from was great entertainment. Cue Miss Muffy and the Muff Mob, the crazy Strawberry Shortcake wannabe rapper that kept many friends and I rolling for hours on end.
9. Intramurals. While I was not quite as involved as that husband of mine, my glory days as co-captain of the volleyball team were profound. When I wasn’t spiking people’s faces off, I was dabbling in kickball as well. My only regret is that I didn’t play softball, as I now realize after three seasons on a corporate team, I am much better than I thought I was, dang it.
10. Intense learning. Now, before I begin, I will disclose that I was an Organizational Communication major (insert chuckle here). However, I also minored in Business and did take some relatively intense courses throughout my college career. I was always up for the challenge and actually miss the long hours in the library lunching and studying with friends as we prepped for exams, presentations, and papers. I would take the most torturous group study sessions over a day in the office anytime, where the risk of getting a C on a test is always much more appealing than getting fired for not providing top of the line work.
I could go on forever, as ten doesn’t quite sum up the great days that made up my college experience. However, I will end here out of fear that if I continue, I’ll divulge too much information that would result in the Buri Couch being lit afire. Maybe after we get to know each other a bit better, we’ll detail the top ten craziest moments of college if we can miraculously narrow it down somehow…
He Says : COLLEGE!
My father always laughs when college students explain how tough they have it. My wonderful old man is a university professor and he has heard the college sob stories for over 30 years now. Anybody older than 22 knows that the “problems” you encounter while in college would be happily welcomed by anybody older than, well, 22. Our society has created a gentle universe to bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood. Ignoring the fact that many societies historically have offered a similar nexus to adulthood at the age of, oh…thirteen, we offer our youth, between the ages of 17 and 22, a holding pattern of four years (or five for some of us, but who’s counting). Only afterwards is it time to become an adult. No quick push out of the nest into free fall. No rite of passage by a knife to the abdomen. We have college.
And you know what? It’s beautiful.
The top ten things I miss about college, also in no particular order.
1. Studying things that have nothing to do with anything. Adults rarely do things just because. Some do, but it’s always impressive to see a grown man or woman learning a new skill for the hell of it. Will my career ever need me to use the extreme close-up I learned in film class? I highly doubt it, but it is still one of my favorite classes from undergrad.
2. Taking a day off. Just today I was thinking how nice it would be to just take a break. Not a vacation, just a 24-hour break. Drive to the mountains and forget the world I have created for myself. Did I do it? Of course not! Responsibilities. Oh that dreaded word. In college, there is nothing that is so important that it can’t be put off until tomorrow.
3. Friends always next door. One of the best things about college is that there’s always a friend nearby. This Cheers-like existence is clearly a fabricated reality, since many of the friendships revolve around Edward 40 Hands or the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, but the fact still remains, you can always find a buddy (or a sibling) to hang out with at the drop of a hat.
4. Friday afternoon drinking croquet barbeques. Friday afternoon dri wha? You read that right. In real life, our drinking centers around celebrations. In college, our celebrations center around drinking. I miss the days of the weekly Friday afternoon drinking croquet barbeque. Even if half the time I’m pretty sure I drank all of the necessary ingredients for vomit.
5. Being able to do without thinking. As an adult, every action and outing has to be thoroughly thought through and considered. In undergrad, you try something simply because you never have before. This isn’t to say actions are devoid of consequences in college, but individuals are still trying to discover who they believe they are. Dancing in the quad, a new look, or walking barefoot in the grass are all actions that take little thought. As an adult, “I have no rhythm,” “That look just isn’t me,” or “I’m not a hippy” are all excuses resting in the back pocket. Maybe who I think I am shouldn’t box in who I’m becoming.
6. Exercise. I still exercise regularly, but it takes a conscious effort. In college, there are classes, clubs, intramural sports, practices, or pick up games galore at the tip of your fingers. It will never be that easy again.
7. Mentally stimulating conversations. It always seems kids in college think fascinating thoughts more so than adults. Obviously some of that is due to the intellectual environment Uni endorses and some of that is due to responsibilities we adults bear (there’s that word again), but there is so much more intellectual excitement from someone in college. Granted, some of that fervor is overreaching phrenic dribble, but it’s still intellectual excitement nonetheless. I had a teacher in high school that commented once on a time he observed from a distance a colleague inspecting a coffee mug with fascination. My teacher had zero interest in the mug itself, but was enlivened by his colleague’s fascination in it. Maybe there’s a grain of simple truth in this Mother Theresa-n approach to life. If someone I know is excited about something, regardless of how inane it may seem, that alone should be enough for me to be excited as well.
8. Coffee and cigarettes. Ahhhh, the sweet caress of a cup of black coffee and a cigarette. I am no longer a smoker, although I will indulge after a large quantity of drinks at a grand celebration, (or what I call Friday night—am I right or am I right?). There was nothing quite like sitting 200 feet above a river at 7am in the morning with a cup of coffee and a cigarette.
9. Travel. The wise old man I referred to in my opening often muses that he has yet to be able to find the study in Study Abroad. The truth of the matter is there is no other time in life that we can travel the world so easily, at such a subsidized rate. At Uni, I was able to travel to Fremantle, Perth and Sydney, Australia, tour Thailand and both islands of New Zealand, and visit Shanghai and Bejing, China. The options for travel are abundantly accessible to college students.
10. Life never gets in the way of life (copyright B.D.) Certainly this is a whimsical view of youth. There are plenty of things in our collegial years with which we get bogged down and by which we are distracted. Likewise, there are plenty of responsibilities requiring careful attention throughout adulthood. Here’s the thing. While some of these responsibilities are true and virtuous obligations that a good soul could never eschew, some of these avocations are nothing more than limitations that others or we ourselves emplace. While a house, a car, a job, a reputation, or any countless number of things can be truly good, they should never define who we are. I have to remind myself daily that my life shouldn’t get in the way of living.