The “grown-up” life is just as amazing, but there is nothing like being a student!
How often do you just wish to be done with your degree and on with your life? I remember the days before midterms and finals — feeling like I would rather be doing anything but heading into that turbulent week of stress and madness. Well, today I am 28-years-old and have been college alumni for 6 years now. I have to admit, sometimes there is a little sadness that creeps into my mind, as I remember how much fun being a student actually was. I realize I can never go back to that time. I think that there is appreciation to find in every stage of life, and always something to look forward to, but what about the present?
It’s hard to give credit to the present, so this note is for all you students out there working hard on the daily academic grind. Here’s what you’ll miss.
1. Social Life
Photo: Social Life
There is nothing I miss more about being on campus (college & high school) than seeing my friends on a regular basis. I feel like the older I get, and the more involved with my work that I am, the farther and farther the time gaps are between being with my friends and family. The social aspect of being a student is not to be taken for granted. As more and more of us get married and have children, it gets harder to have a social life quite as exciting as the lives we had during school.
Campus is always a great place to get to know people. You will meet many people when you move into your career, but there is nothing really like being able to walk onto a college campus and realize that there are thousands of people just like you. Campus parties are also something that many of us will never experience in quite the same way ever again. You’re only young once. Live it up while you can!
2. Parental Support
In my experience, it was much more acceptable during my school years to call on my parents requesting some extra cash than it is today. I can’t say I didn’t have part time work here and there during high school and college, but being able to call on family when you’re in financial
funk is a little more understandable when you’re a starving student! It’s incredible how much I took my parents for granted, and how often I tell them now how thankful I was for them. I mean, when you are in school busy studying for exams or writing papers, are you really worrying about paying bills and tuition? Chances are you are racking up debt or living off of someone else’s dollar.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly admire those who took on these responsibilities on their own. As a student I don’t think I would have been able to take it on, but for those of you who were like me (parentally dependant) don’t think it lasts forever! It is a beautiful thing to have the family support system and we all need to remember to be grateful for that sort of help because one day, you will be out on your own.
Here is a list of some things you get to do AFTER graduation:
a. Pay Taxes
b. Pay Student Loans & other credit card debts racked up during school
c. Pay for weddings, decorating your house, groceries and children
d. Pay rent, utilities, insurance, car payments, etc
e. Get up and work, work, work to make the money to do all of the above!
So, if any of the above currently do NOT cause you worry , pay attention to how lucky you are and know that you will miss lacking these responsibilities one day.
3. Learning with Intensity
Photo: Studying in College
I never thought I’d say this: “I miss the library.” Being on campus and having the infinite amount of resources (computers, professors, and other intelligent peers all around me) is something that I really miss. Once you get a job or start a business, you will realize what an information-rich place school is!
I actually miss being in between classes and having that extra hour to go read in a huge university library, finding a little corner and opening a book. I miss the quiet typing noise of the computer lab and the intensity of my focus to get each assignment completed.
I miss meeting up with people from my classes and studying at the last minute together for an exam, drinking coffee and cramming all that information at the very last minute before taking your test. As stressful as it can be, there is a rush of excitement that goes into the work that you do that can be exciting (Especially if you know you are prepared and are going to do well)
Most of all, I really miss the exhilaration and the high of walking out of my last final, no matter how well I did, knowing that I just took another step toward my goal. The feeling of walking out of your last final is awesome and truly irreproducible!
Four months after my graduation I got a job at a large investment bank as a receptionist. My pay was decent and I was really excited about my job.
I started work at 6:30am (As the stock markets opened in New York at 9:30am and I lived in California). Every morning I was up at 4:00am and I had to be dressed nicely, eat and get into the office for when the phones started ringing. One of my 3 bosses was always over my shoulder making sure I was doing something. If I wanted to take a bathroom break, I had to get someone to watch the phones for me. It wasn’t more than a year before I began to realize that this was NOT how I wanted to spend the next 20 years of my life, so I got out of there!
I remember feeling trapped and almost imprisoned by working 5 days a week like this. I began to reminisce about how in college, I would always sign up for afternoon and evening classes, if possible, so I could sleep in. I remembered how flip-flops and workout hoodies were part of my everyday wear when I was running around on campus. Most of all, I remembered how easy it was to skip class if I wanted to ditch with my friends. In the corporate world, there is very little freedom for these little and over-looked liberties of being a student.
5. Infinite possibilities
The world is at your finger tips! The thing I miss the most is the mystery of what the foundation you are building will lead to in the future. Oh the possibilities…
”Where will I be in 10 years?”
“Where will my job be?”
“Where will I live?”
“Who will I be?”
I used to ask these questions with much more anxiety as a student. Although these questions may stay the same, you will never get a chance to relive any moment of your life. Appreciating where you’re at, and really knowing that you can never repeat your youth once it has past, is truly a happier way to live. Enjoy the adventures and the mystery of being a student, because as you can always go back to school, you can never repeat the excitement of being an undergrad or a high-schooler. The “grown-up” life is just as amazing, but there is nothing like being a student!