I’ve had a few of my students say to me that they’re “over” college, that htey can’t wait to graduate. What? This time my senior year I felt like a crying toddler on the first day of preschool, clinging to my mother’s leg. “Nooooo I don’t wanna gooooo don’t make meeeeee!!” It’s like they say…you don’t know what you til it’s gone.
I know I hated college at one point. I’ve hated every phase of life at one point or another, but there are definitely parts I miss.
From college, I don’t miss arguing over whose turn it was to buy the toilet paper. Living with all guys, apparently it was ALWAYS my turn. But I do miss having so many friends living within a hundred yards of me. I miss the spontaneity. I miss the freedom…stay up too late? You can skip that morning lecture. You can’t do that when you have a “real” job. I also miss the feeling that you had all the opportunity in the world…applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere because there was nothing tying me down.
High school and middle school felt like hell on earth. I don’t miss the cliques and gossip and the “popular” kids. I hope they’re enjoying their jobs at the town gas station and grocery store. But I do miss everything feeling like an adventure and spending hours sitting on the floor of my closet talking on the house phone (remember those days?). I miss how simple everything seemed. The hardest decision I had to make was to do dance or cheerleading.
I took some time off after college. It sucked. If I hadn’t been approved for a credit card, I probably would have wound up homeless. And still I manage to find things I miss. I miss having a bar for every night of the week. We knew where the specials were. I miss feeling successful for the littlest things like being able to afford a new blazer or pay off my credit card in full.
As much as I’m looking forwards to “growing up” (whatever that means these days) I know there will be good things and bad things. Heck, there will be things I miss form my life the way it is now…like not having a rent check!
I’ve always been excited to own my own home. I can’t wait to make it look the way I want. Paint! Hardwoods floors! A porch! A garden…I can’t have a garden living in a dorm. But I also know that I’m not excited for the repairs and maintenance that ocme with owning your own home. What do you mean I can’t submit a FixIt?
It wasn’t until I got to college that I was able to understand how happy I was with how things were at that moment rather than constantly loking ahead to see what comes next. There will definitely come a time in our lives where what comes next is guaranteed to not be as good was what we have. I’m not saying that time is when you graduate college, but I hope my students learn to enjoy what they have. Soon.
Have you ever seen the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind“? I first saw it my freshman year of college when I was busy hating everything. The basic plot is it goes backwards through this couple’s failed relationship. Anywho. Towards the end there’s this part where Clementine says, “This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.” And Joel says, “I know.” Clementine asks, “What do we do?” to which Joel simply responds, “Enjoy it.” And it suddenly made so much sense to me. I had spent YEARS looking towards going to college and here I was nearly a quarter of the way done and I wanted nothing more than to go back to high school.
So whoever you are, make sure you stop and enjoy some part of whatever phase of life you are in right now.