I enjoyed college. I had a rather stellar time, and am extremely grateful for the experience. That said:
- I’m not so sure that it was the best four years of my life, given that from ages 5-9 I had a mushroom cut.
- I’m also not so sure about the narrative that we’ve inflicted upon ourselves; that college is the greatest thing since Warren G. Harding’s love letters, and that the time after college is this dramatic fall from grace, in which everything is terrible because we can no longer spend afternoons watching Sean Connery movies on USA Network.
I’ve had a somewhat decent time in my mid-20s. And while it may not be better than college (it’s tough to beat a place with such a positive stance on sweatpants), there are definitely aspects of being in your mid-20s that are way better. For example:
In college, there’s a lot of pressure to actively seek out new experiences. Be it rushing a Greek Organization, going to dinners with your entire freshman floor, or milling around awkwardly at the ping pong club, it’s generally in your best interest to try everything — the thinking here is that one of these things will land, and that it will become “your thing.” And once you’ve got a thing, you’ve finally got a group of people that you could put on your Facebook Cover Photo.
Seeking out new experiences is a fun and necessary part of human development, but it also gets pretty exhausting. After all, how many times could you stomach an over the top a capella meet and greet? Even with the free cheese and crackers?
Once you’ve gone through the never-ending activity mill, you’ll have a much better handle on the things you actually do want to pursue. After college there’s much less hesitation, and a lot more deliberation. You know yourself better, so you have a much better idea of whether or not an activity is worth pursuing. Not to mention, you also really only have time to do one activity, which is quite convenient.
2. You can relate to a much larger spectrum of people
Going away to college oftentimes a radical departure from the high school and hometown bubble from whence you came. It’s a place filled with profoundly new experiences, people, and people from Boston who can’t pronounce the word “room” properly. Yet, as time wears on, college simply becomes it’s own new bubble — because of the specificity of the college experience, it can sometimes be difficult to relate to a 25 year-old working in insurance.
Arguably then, a 23 year-old in the workforce has more in common with a 33 year-old co-worker than a 21 year-old frat dude, who’s primary responsibility is making sure the keg gets brought back to the liquor store.
3. More At Stake = More Meaningful Incentives
College is a game incentivized by grades. The better you do, the higher your GPA. GPAs don’t always matter.
Life is a game that is incentivized by sushi. The better you do, the higher the sushi quality*. Sushi quality always matters.
*You don’t need to make a ton of money to eat high quality sushi. Other ways to succeed in life include:
- Tricking other people into thinking you’re important
- Having a very unorthodox financial plan, that sets a lot of money aside for high quality sushi
- Riding the coattails of a very smart and/or morally bankrupt person
- Having a trust fund
- Applying to be an apprentice at Jiro’s restaurant.
4. You Drink Out Of Nicer Cups
My apartment had a party a few weeks ago. For cost-efficiency purposes, we opted to get a bunch of solo cups for the keg.
It’s a few weeks later, and all these solo cups keep staring me in the face. The thought of drinking out of them is pretty terrifying. I enjoyed the solo cup era, but I finally understand why people get excited about things like going to Crate & Barrel.
(I can’t wait to go to Crate & Barrel)
5. You have a better idea of where things are in your kitchen
The other day I needed a measuring cup, and had no trouble locating it. It was a truly monumental moment.