1. Meal plans. When you’re in college, something about the mass-produced mashed potatoes and fake-looking, plasticky-tasting beef seems really repulsive. However, in your first year out of college you realize that nothing is nearly as bad as cereal five days in a row and then ramen for the next five days. Suddenly your former dining hall eats seem like Michelin-starred meals.
2. Dining dollars. Or rather, the one card in your adult life that you’re actually allowed swipe into oblivion. Dining dollars felt very much not real, but after graduation, you’re encouraged to give up your ID card and swap it for a credit card, which is when you learn that you can’t be nearly as swipe-happy in the real world.
3. The unlimited amount of people you could potentially date. And while so many of them annoy you to no end while you’re in school, after graduation, you’ll wish you had a pre-screened, friend-of-friends dating pool to dive into whenever you felt like it, as opposed to actually having to do your own dating legwork.
4. The library. Having a quiet place to go to do whatever work you pleased – that’s miraculously open at any hour – is nothing short of a BLESSING. And you only realize that when that blessing is taken out of your life, and you’re left with eight loud roommates and no quiet place to go and sit/think/work.
5. Not having utilities in your name. Not having to deal with Time Warner or AT&T because you lived a life that included school-provided internet. Not having to sit on hold for three hours with the electric company when they overcharge you for absolutely no reason. In college, you were still blissfully unaware that one day a landlord would charge you $30 for trash, and oh, what a time it was.
6. Day drinking. You will, of course, still day drink after college, but you will have fewer occasions to do so, and it will inevitably be more painful on your body if you day drink excessively after college.
7. Varied wake-up times. Even if you had 8 AMs in college, it was a restrained amount of early rising. And there were weekends, and you could go back to sleep at 11 AM or somehow luck into not having classes on Fridays. After college, you get a job, and people at jobs don’t really care that you’re not a fan of waking up at 7 AM everyday. That’s not on their radar. Eight AMs are at least a pitied occurrence, but a job that starts at 8 is just a reality. Sad face.
8. On-site laundry.The day you develop a relationship with a local laundromat is a sad day indeed.
9. Unlimited days and costume options on (and around) Halloween. Somehow, at age 21, it’s sweet and fun and endearing that you celebrate Halloween four days in a row with varying amounts of fabric covering your body. And yet, when you have places to be and bills to pay the day after Halloween, it becomes less sweet and less appealing.
10. Endless cereal options. At any time of the day.
11. Free gym memberships, free games, free common rooms, free random ping pong tables in the basement, etc. You never really take advantage of campus perks when they’re offered to you. Like, maybe you went to the gym, but how often did you attend classes and use the climbing wall? Then, suddenly, you’re out of college and are baffled by the fact that you never even tried to take on any one of the 1800 free hobbies your campus offered. All those days with a free ping pong table only two tenths of a mile away were squandered.
12. Only needing to buy enough food to fit in a mini fridge. And somehow possessing a digestive tract that still functioned happily even if the fridge was mostly filled with beer, string cheese and hot sauce.
13. Genuine enthusiasm for cheap vodka or cheap beer. Instead of having to deal with your insides withering every time you look at Barton’s and Keystone.
14. Sweatpants serving as acceptable attire for any occasion. As opposed to after college, when donning sweatpants for seven days straight is about as far from acceptable as you can get. Passing stretchy jeans off at work might be the closest you can get to those glory days, but it does make you appreciate weekends that much more.