1. Drinking all weekend… Every weekend.
Yes, of course it was nice being able to binge drink three nights a week (minimum), but it also just makes you feel like complete shit. I love being able to wake up at least one morning every weekend without my makeup still caked on, with a pounding headache, and zero energy to accomplish anything. On those horribly hung over mornings, I would eat the greasiest meal without a care, sleep and/or watch TV all day, and then get ready to do it all over again. It’s nice feeling like a functioning human being on the weekend, and actually having the time, energy, and brain capacity to get real things done. Not to mention, I’m no longer destroying my body with cheap vodka and cases of beer.
2. The bars
With that said, I don’t miss any of the college bars in general. It’s obviously exciting when you turn 21 and can finally go into all of those bars the seniors always talked about. But those bars get old — quick. A year straight of the same bars, being served by the same bartenders, drinking the same drinks surrounded by the same people. I never so hopefully wished for a strange older gentleman to buy me a drink and offer some different company. It’s so nice being out of college now and exploring other bars that aren’t solely dominated by college kids. You see girls wearing something other than crop tops and jeans, and boys in something other than Jordan’s and a fitted hat.
3. College Students
That last point once again transitioned into this one. After spending four years at a college, especially one that only had 5,000 students like my own, you realize everyone is practically the same. Obviously, that is a bold statement. Let me explain. Where I went to school, everyone was from New England. You never ran into someone from a state other than one found in the upper east. This caused everyone to talk the same, dress the same, and practically have the same opinions. Just by walking through campus, I could practically categorize everyone. All the boys in their colored khaki shorts and boat shoes were from Connecticut. The ones with basketball jerseys or baggy sweatshirts and sweatpants were from Massachusetts. All of the kids from New Hampshire barely ever left their own state. Everyone wore the same brands, played the same music at parties, even drank the same beer. Four years of that, I was dying for variety. I was sick of seeing wasted girls stumbling around with their eyes in the back of their heads. I was bored of all the boys only complimenting you if they wanted you to go back with them at the end of the night. I loved my friends, but I was completely over everyone else found on a college campus or in a college bar.
4. Living in a house
It threw me off living with three girls. The only other women I’ve ever lived with were my Mom and older sister, and I knew exactly what to expect living with them. It’s not like the people you move in with at college are ones you’ve known all your life. You know these people for a couple of years tops. I loved my roommates and would never change living with them, but it was a huge adjustment from home. Roommates, especially female roommates, will butt heads over the stupidest shit. Dishes left in the sink, paying late for an electric bill, eating someone else’s food, leaving for the bar before everyone’s ready. It made me appreciate having just my Mom as my roommate, where we consistently pick up after ourselves, plain and simple. We talk directly if there is a problem and it is resolved quickly and without eye-rolling or scoffing. And no matter how often you and your roommates may scrub and mop and wipe, a college house just never gets clean. Ever. Those houses stay permanently dirty no matter what you may do, and eventually you’re forced to accept it. Moving back home, I’ve never so much appreciated a clean floor, spotless bathroom, toilet paper on the roll, sink empty of dirty dishes.
5. Being away from friends and family
Although you are at college to meet new people and make new friends, I was still always homesick for everything and everyone back in my town. I missed having dinner with my Mom, going out to the bar with all of my friends I’ve known since middle school, coming home and going to sleep in my bed in my room. Nothing is more horrible than being sick at college especially. There isn’t anyone there who particularly cares about taking care of you, and if there is, it’s nowhere close to when you’re taken care of by a parent. If I got a fever or virus, I would lay sniveling in my room, feeling like death itself, wishing my Mom was there to make me food and to get me ginger ale and guilty-pleasure magazines. I also missed being able to turn to my friends from home for certain things. Although I had great friends at school, certain situations called for the people who have known you for a long time, and have seen you at your absolute worst. But getting in contact becomes difficult when you no long know your best friend’s every move at home.
6. The food
When you first arrive at college, you think the food is the absolute best (with the exception of sudden PTSD from no more home-cooked meals). You are blown away by all of the options in the cafeteria. You can’t believe you can actually eat chicken fingers and french fries and pizza all you want without being scolded. When you do want to pretend you’re healthy, there’s always the huge salad bar to turn to. Every kind of soda imaginable flows endlessly. And when you choose not to eat on campus, there is every single fast food restaurant surrounding your school. Chinese takeout or Domino’s will always suffice as well.
Until it just doesn’t anymore. I could feel how unhealthy I was, every inch of me. I was disgusted by the options I was faced with on campus and at the restaurants around me. And when I finally lived in a house, I was only occasionally satisfied with the dinner I made myself. Nothing could compare to being at home, having all of the best ingredients right there at your disposal. I couldn’t believe how cheap I had gotten grocery shopping, because you suddenly realize how much everything fucking costs. You try and save as much as possible, and that means not buying anything good or high-quality. I would grab boxes of mac-n-cheese because they would always have some kind of deal. Chicken nuggets were always cheap and quick to cook. And of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I was ripping my hair out after a year of cooking half-assed meals for myself.
Lastly, no longer having to go to class is what makes me extremely grateful I graduated college. Although I loved my major, I grew sick of not being able to actually apply myself somewhere other than a classroom. I hated to study, take tests, write long papers on books I disliked. I felt like I was wasting my parents’ money taking random electives I would never use just in order to have enough credits. And despite the fact that it was very nice having lots of free time during the day and having a schedule that only required about four hours of my daily time, I was eager to leave the whole concept of school behind. I know that most people dread finding a real job. Of course your college schedule is much easier than when you have to work 9-5, Monday through Friday. But I preferred to be thrust into the working environment where I could actually make money and learn skills to further my career. We begin to prepare for our “real life” from the day we go to preschool. Eighteen years later, I’m pretty confident to think that I’m ready to just do it already.