What Happens When You Begin To Outgrow College (But Aren’t Yet Ready For The “Real World”)

Cameron Russell
Cameron Russell

As a college student interning in New York City, you think I’d be out partying it up on any given Saturday night at 1:40 in the morning. You think I’d be drinking my body weight in alcohol with all the annoying finance interns. You think I’d be at some club dirty dancing with some guy whose name escapes me. You think I’d be a normal college kid living it up on Saturday night.

Instead, after eating frozen Greek yogurt and too many cookies to count, I’m at home getting ready to watch yet another episode of Friday Night Lights. Sounds like I just broke up with someone doesn’t it? Well I didn’t. I’m just home alone on a Saturday night with the TV, relaxing. It would be great if perhaps last night I went out really hard which is why I’m in relaxing tonight. Well last night was basically the same thing except instead of Tami Taylor telling me that I’ll get through, it was Nora Walker from Brothers and Sisters. You may be thinking, what the hell is wrong with you, dude?! Believe me, I thought it myself many times. Hell, my friend just called telling me she got invited to a threesome…and I’m here watching the East Dillon lions getting all emotional…ALONE!

That used to be me. I was the freshman who went out hard, who once got invited to a threesome. Staying in was never an option. And here I am in the city that never sleeps, alone at home. What happened to me?!

Did I grow up? I don’t think so. In fact, quite the opposite. Instead of progressing forward in life, I feel as if I’m in a rut, stuck between what was and what will be. In the past, when my friend called, I’d be jealous. Why wasn’t I out having a fun? Yet, tonight, as my time in the city comes to a close, I didn’t feel jealousy. I sort of felt nothing. I didn’t want to be out drinking with people I could care less about. (Sorry, kids, but you’re tacky and I hate you.) But at the same time, I wasn’t content. I wasn’t just satisfied with staying in because that’s not who I am. I love going out and seeing people. I love my friends and am always thirsty for a Patrón on the rocks or a gin gimlet. So if I’m not content, but not jealous, what am I?

Confused. That’s the only word that I can think of right now. Confused about life and what’s next. This time in the city was supposed to be my first taste of the real world. I was interning and living in the Big Apple and at the start of my internship, fully expected to take advantage of the amazing nightlife and drama that is New York. Yet, that didn’t happen. I never wanted to go out. I never wanted to get drunk. I didn’t want to see people.

I love my friends and I love my school. but this year, I watched so many of them do these internships at finance places or consulting firms or big companies and that’s awesome for them. They worked long hard hours and went out even harder on the weekends. Hell, if I had those hours, I’d probably be dead from alcohol poisoning. But, as I watched them, all I could think about was next year after I graduate college. Is this what they wanted their lives to be like? Working at these jobs that seem awful and don’t really help society that much.

I’m not hating on these people. A good number of them are some of my best friends. But, all I can think about is next year, if I’m going to try and make it as an artist, is this what I’ll always be witness to? And it’s not just the people in those professions. I’m talking about in general. Most of my friends hung out with their college friends in the city. It was as if campus moved to Manhattan for the semester and everything stayed the same. It was the same college social scene that I’d spent 3 years living. On one hand, that scene is amazing, and I cannot wait to return to it for one last hurrah.

But on the other hand, I’m starting to feel as if I’ve outgrown it, and not in a “I’m too cool for y’all” way, but a “I’m ready for something new. New people new activities new everything,” kind of way.

I don’t have some big conclusion. Nor do I have some plan of action. Just confusion. Confused about what will happen next year. Confused about the type of experiences I want to have after college. Confused about where I want to live next year. Confused about everything. For a time that was supposed to be illuminating, it turned out to be pretty cloudy and rainy, both literally and figuratively. I’m in a rut. I don’t know what’s next or what I want – the only exception being that I know want something new, something completely different. Next year, I can’t enter the rat race, the predictable life. I need something exciting and uncomfortable, a revolution in my own life, if you will. Maybe that’s what I’ve learned this year. Maybe that’s all I’ve learned. TC mark

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