I've recently experienced an odd sensation in the last fews weeks that most people I know who went to college have also shared at one point in their life; missing it. However, when I examined what I truly missed about college, I learned it was not college at all that I missed, but rather the lifestyle that it provided for me. I was on my own, close to dozens of great people and friends, and had access to a lot of fun.
When I hear people saying how much they missed college, I never hear anything about missing the classes, the tests, projects, or the schedules they had. I hear about how they missed just having the whole world ahead of them, a world they could choose, and being able to have a lot of fun with their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, and just random people they just met. The idea of working hard to obtain great prospects in life is something that we all do in various ways and is indeed a great aspect of college, but I believe what people miss most is the lifestyle that it provided.
When I was in high school, I did nothing but work, especially on weekends; woke up, went to school for eights hours, went home for several minutes, went to my job for another 6-7 hours, and pulled multiple all nighters to finish my homework and projects. There was some other activities mixed in, such as martial arts and boxing and the occasional date, but I worked pretty much throughout all of high school in both academics and in a part time job to make money. Several student loans later, I ended up going to college and realized that it offered such an amazing lifestyle that I was not used to; free time and just plain freedom. In retrospective, I worked hard throughout all of high school so I could relax a little more in college, though you always need to strike a balance between partying and work.
College is really a world where you ultimately are in charge; you have to make important decisions and learn to balance out fun and work to ultimately lead a fulfilling experience. To me, there is something so alluring of being able to make your own decisions and having the responsibility to govern your own life. You have access to many thing in college, but you have to make sure you make important choices to ensure you do not overdue it. Have fun, but always remember why you are there to begin with. Some overdue with partying and fail in their academics while others work too hard and miss out on a huge aspect of college in kicking back and having some real fun.
Last year was probably my favorite as I had a fairly nice apartment with some of my best friends; we partied, went out a lot to clubs and restaruants, or just hung out on campus and met new people. We were't assholes, drunks, or anything of that nature; we were just a group of friends who always had each other's backs and spent a lot of days and nights having some great fun. The Super Bowl party we held was a real standout for me, especially since I'm a die hard New York Giants fan. The following Tuesday, we ended up at New York for the parade and these are the moments that truly make up why the college lifestyle is so amazing and so dearly missed by many.
There is something truly gratifying about finishing classes for the week and just hanging out with your friends over a few cold ones and just goofing around. You have such a huge amount of access to dating and partying that it can be overwhelming, but the idea that it's up to you to strike that balance between work and fun without a lecture from someone older is truly satisfying.
The lifestyle of college is something that can of course be obtained again however. You work hard, get a good job, and save up money and, one day, you will be able to live on your own again. College is the first real exposure to it though within a community that offers so much experience that it truly can be the best years of your life. I don't miss taking classes and getting grades on test and projects, but I do miss the lifestyle of being on my own and being so close to some of the best people I met throughout my life and just going out after working hard and having some great moments that will make for some funny stories later in my life.
I'm content in actively looking for jobs, going on interviews, and making use of my four years at college, as it is the next step in life, but I still experience the lingering loss of that amazing lifestyle. I think what many overlook however is that it can be obtainable again. Will you have as much free time on your hands? Probably not, but as long as you work hard, make the best of what you have, and save up, you will be able to live on your own and still have those great moments with your friends. Everything in life requires hard work, but just remember that the college lifestyle is never truly gone for good. College was great, but it's not the classes I missed, but the life is gave me for four of the best years of my life so far.