Don’t Take College’s Little Things for Granted
January 28, 2011 § 5 Comments
(This is aimed toward my Mizzou friends, but if you’re in your final semester at another school, or if you’re in college, period, this might be worth your time.)
Dear final-semester college students,
You guys just began your last semester of college at Mizzou. Some of you are holding on to the college dream for dear life and never want to leave while others can’t wait to transition into their next phase of life. Some of you are already beginning to panic about post-graduate plans while others either have a good handle on such plans or are just postponing facing them. And some of you have probably started a Facebook photo album called “Beginning of the End” or something equally gay.
As a guy who’s one year removed from that strange final-semester college student life, I’m not here to judge (except to call you a dork if you started a Facebook album called “Beginning of the End”). Sure, it would probably be to your benefit to start looking into post-grad plans right now if you haven’t done so yet. I know I should’ve started earlier. And it’s never good to live in oblivion, so don’t just pretend college will never end because that will make Graduation Day very painful, and you absolutely will cry and hate your life for at least a couple months.
But here is one thing I absolutely don’t want you to do: Do NOT take college for granted because you will never ever experience anything else like it. Even if you become a rich jet-setting playboy and have the time to live a college lifestyle*, you will still not be able to because you will have to pay bills, deal with money-grubbers, maintain your income, etc. In the more likely event that you work a 9-to-5 job or go on to grad school, you will almost certainly still not be able to live a college lifestyle unless you go to the University of Phoenix or something. The college lifestyle is exclusive to undergraduate college students, and there’s a damn good reason for it. If we were able to lead college lifestyles into our 30s or later, the following large-scale problems would occur:
- Work productivity would sharply decline in all industries.
- Kids wouldn’t be raised properly, or at all.
- America’s average age of death would lower due to more diseases and health problems, which would make the health insurance crisis an even worse burden.
*By college lifestyle, I am referring to the stereotype: drinking pretty heavily three or four nights a week, liberal napping, recreational pot use (coke for certain sororities and fraternities), getting shit done at the last minute, friends with benefits and eating generally unhealthy diets.
Those are just three. I’m sure if my 12 to 15 readers put their minds to it, we could come up with a lot more. So yes, I obviously wish I was still in college. Mizzou is awesome, and I enjoyed my time there. But I know it’s best for the country, the state and the Holy Ghost that I’ve obtained my Bachelor’s and gotten the fuck out of that school. Sad, but true.
I know from experience that your last semester feels weird. You’re in a purgatory of sorts. Not quite ready for the real world, yet a little too old for college. Your friends start talking about you like you’re already gone. Next year’s intramural team’s plans are discussed after the end of the season, and your name isn’t mentioned. Your presence at the fraternity’s elections is more ceremonial than anything. You’re like Jimmy Carter; you have no chance of being elected to an office, but your voice and opinion, while diminished, still means something. (At least you hope so.) If you hit on a freshmen girls, you’re borderline creepy, which sucks, because you’re not. Freshmen are legal after all (unless they’re super-smart 16-year-olds, in which case they would go to a much finer academic institution), and you’re just trying to take advantage, er, make acquaintances with fresh meat. Even the one sanctuary where you shouldn’t feel old — the bar scene — makes you feel, well, kind of old. After all, you’ve probably (hopefully) been going to bars since you were at least a sophomore, plus there are still all sorts of freshmen and sophomores getting into the bars all the time.
As for the University, like I’ve said, they are pushing you the fuck out the door. Sure, I guess they wouldn’t mind if you stuck around an extra semester and spent another $10,000 or so, but they’d much rather you get your goddamn degree and get to work. The Alumni Association needs to start hitting you up for donations, STAT! Plus, they need to be able to project their numbers for next year’s freshmen class. Even your professors probably don’t give a shit about the quality of your work. Your GPA is pretty much locked in anyway. Hopefully, you at least have a quality capstone teacher who genuinely cares about his/her students and wants to teach them some applicable skills. (I was lucky enough to have such a professor.)
Anyway, it’s easy to be jaded by all this information. You’ll probably be tempted to blow off the majority of your schoolwork in favor of things that actually matter, such as your capstone, partying and more partying. I’d be a hypocrite to tell you to go balls to the wall with your academics this final semester since I didn’t exactly put forth my full effort on the last few papers of my college career. (I can’t divulge all the details in case some Mizzou bigwig reads this. I need my diploma!)
But what I will say is this: Live your life to the fullest over these next few months. That’s not to say you should do uncharacteristic crazy shit like roam north of Broadway and plow as many prostitutes as you can in one night. But you should make the most of your time left and soak in those irreplaceable “college things”** that you won’t be able to ever do again.
**My “college things” include: walking to and from bars; living in a house with 60 friends; meeting interesting people without pretense, easily making plans; always being able to find a party no matter the day or time; always being able to find at least six people to play pick up sports; spontaneous road trips; Spring Break; Winter Break; Columbia summers; Madden, FIFA and Mario Kart along with each game’s accompanying drinking game; Beer Pong; Flip Cup; formals; semi-formals; Halloween parties; Christmas parties; New Years parties; St. Patrick’s Day parties; sorority parties and most important, Cinco De Mayo parties.
Enjoy the rest of your time! And if you’re feeling down about graduation, be glad that these assholes haven’t implemented their evil plan yet.