I do remember them fondly, my college years. A mix of alcohol-induced dance sessions, running to get to class, hurried food runs to a dismal dining common, and stressing out over classwork, my college years were a good time. Honest. I made a few lasting friendships (one is now my youngest’s godmother), decided on my career (not many people leave college truly knowing), and my roommate senior year introduced me to my husband. And there are definitely times where I think I’d want to go back to those carefree days. Especially when my munchkins wake me up at 5 am and I have to wipe another tush after a potty run. But then, I remember some of the things that would surely prevent me from going back. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m 35 or if it’s because I already went through these things, but I realized, nope, I wouldn’t want to go back. And here’s why.
- Hangovers. Yes, I now have hangover for upwards of 3 days after drinking. It sucks ass. When I was in college, I can remember drinking from dusk until dawn, and sleeping all hours of the day, and then getting up, and taking a “hair of the dog” approach to my next night. But there were times like when I was so hungover I could barely eat and talk in front of my family when my roommate and I met them for a football game. When my 75 year old grandfather commented on how my aversion to the beers my family had open was comical, I knew I shouldn’t have drank that much the night before. I definitely couldn’t hang with my younger self now if I tried.
- Sleeping in all hours of the day. This sounds like it would be great, right? I remember a time when my roommate and I literally slept until 1:45 pm, and barely made the cut-off for brunch at the dining commons. We were complete blobs the rest of the day, and then got ready to go out and do it all over again that night. During the week, I was often forced to get up and go to class, but then I’d often come back to my dorm room and pass back out for a few hours. I’d like to think that I would love that option now, but I love a good routine. I thrive on it, and although my littles like to wake me up early, I don’t feel like a slob like I would in college. Often too much sleep made me feel like shit, as it does now, and I’d feel lost without my routine.
- Classwork/homework/attending class. I don’t miss this AT ALL. It felt glamorous, walking to class with my books and notebooks, with a purpose and a plan to meet someone for lunch after, and then hit the library. And I had great opportunities, and took fun classes, too (African dance, and “my body my health” to name a few – both of which I got credits for). But when it came down to it, finals sucked, my internship was alienating, and always having a schedule that fell on the days after the big party nights (priorities!) was a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the whole learning part. But the homework and stress of studying for huge tests and writing papers aspect? I’m all set.
- Partying. There was always this excitement and/or anticipation to a night out with the girls. Where to go, what to wear, and most of all, who were we going to meet/see. It all seemed so fun at the time. Now, looking back, the awkwardness of meeting someone at a frat party/bar/on the sidewalk after the bar was not all it was cracked up to be. In addition, there was always a lost friend or someone who drank too much (I still remember losing a friend at a frat that was known for taking advantage of girls and freaking out – we found her later), so it was difficult to really enjoy yourself 100% of the time. Now, I’d take a glass of wine in front of the fire while catching up on DVR’d shows over any of those nights out where jackets weren’t chic and you’d freeze your ass on the walk to/from your destination.
- Walk of shame. Yes, this happened once or twice. I’m not saying I was easy, but there were times where I did have to stay over with a guy because a roommate wasn’t up to going anywhere or I’d refuse to leave a friend who just HAD so sleep with someone. Some of the times it was me after a make-out session. Regardless of who or what the reason, the walk of shame is worse than I always thought. Your wearing the outfit from the night before, which may or may not consist of skintight pants and a halter top. Being that it is -30 degrees out makes it worse. Your eye makeup is caked around your face, raccoon eyes and all. You have bed head, even if you didn’t have sex with the guy, so you look like a cheap whore. And it’s 7 am. How can you not wish to NOT go out, get drunk and find a guy ever again? (But no, you did. The next weekend if not the next day.)
- The future. The undeniable, daunting, what the fuck am I going to do with the rest of my life future that hangs in the balance from the moment you start college your freshman year. It doesn’t matter that it’s new and exciting and all of the things you’d hope it would be. It’s always there, every time you return home during a break, on your family’s faces as they ponder what is going to happen to you when you finish your endeavor. I didn’t think it bothered me much, but I know that I struggled with what I was going to do with the rest of my life about halfway through. Now, if I don’t have a decision about something, I am adult enough to deal with it properly, not hide in a party or some sleepy-eyed guy’s arms.
I know there are people who reminisce and yearn for the days they were in college. They want to go back to the time when they have no responsibilities and enjoyed themselves until all hours of the night. Me? I’d wouldn’t exchange it for what I have now. I’m not getting corny, but if you think about it, the hungover slob walking shamefully to their early morning class after a hard night of partying with their future hanging in the balance isn’t the best carrot to dangle. I’ll take my 5 am wake-up with my two beautiful children, after a cuddly night in with a single glass of wine with my husband to get ready for the job I have. I’m a big girl. I can party whenever I want to. I just don’t have the awkwardness and uncertainty of a college girl anymore to hold me back.