About two weeks into July, my Instagram feed had one specific change: Suddenly, every other photo seemed to be a throwback to those crazy, uninhibited, blurry college days. The pictures ranged from dark fraternity bathroom photo shoots to screenshots of 2 AM group selfies in the library, all with captions like, “Does anyone else miss college as much as me right now?!” I wanted to raise my hand and shout, “Me! I do!”, but instead, I settled for liking it and living vicariously through the excitement of another year of undergrad.
I wore my cap and gown proudly two months ago, excited for the prospects of the real world. Unfortunately, it hit me a few days later that the real world didn’t include evenings of long conversations over dining hall food with my roommate or weekends teeming with sports games and pre-games and drinking games and even the torturous I-need-to-finish-my-homework-by-Sunday-night games. I wouldn’t be able to text my friends anymore and meet them by the fountain before searching for the perfect library table. There would be no more movie nights in each other’s dorm rooms, no more piling onto one twin bed and Facebook stalking the boys from our classes, no more mixing cheap soda with even cheaper alcohol, no more sharing closets–it’s the end of an era.
The amazing thing about college is the community it fosters. You can walk into any building on campus and know instantly that you will have at least one thing in common with everyone else there: you chose the same school. Out here in the real world, I guess you could argue that we’re all the same species or we’re all in the same city or country or planet, but it’s just not the same.
Of course, there are some positives to the real world. Those late nights in the library – I’m talking about the nights when you’re on the quiet floor and the sun rises in an hour and you’re taking online quizzes to procrastinate the conclusion of your paper – are over (unless you’re headed to grad school, in which case, I’m sorry). The high stress course requirements are completed.
It’s easy to slap a filter on a cute picture from sophomore year and muse on how much you miss those crazy nights, but let’s be honest here: nostalgia itself is a filter, blurring the group projects and failed exams and Sunday hangovers into the background while all you can remember are the friends and the fun nights out. While college is an amazing time, even it has its downsides, and though missing it is normal and totally okay, it’s also exciting to continue to look forward–to get paid for doing the same workload you’ve been doing, to have your own place, to pursue your dreams. Suddenly, the world is no longer limited by homework assignments and the small confines of your dorm room. However, that should not keep you from posting your own college #tbt in honor of your alma mater—the blurrier, the better.