College is an ex-lover
I’ve always been a “yes” person. I am that girl that agrees to brunch over Sam Adams Saturday night and, come Sunday morning, wholeheartedly hopes for a text saying it’s a no-go (or better yet, no text whatsoever). Maybe even a natural disaster.
But I always say yes. I’ve done so for most of my life – and it explains a lot.
This, in part, is because the fear of missing out is so deeply rooted in my mind, which – frankly – still thinks it’s eighteen. Sure, this may have served as an advantage in college – the fear of missing out regularly dragging my ass out of bed Saturday mornings to answer the call of a boozy brunch – but I can tell you that as a post-grad approaching the six-month mark, the fomo is fucking real.
Welcome week came and went as I came and went to the office. To this day, every late night college-town mupload feels like a swift kick to the stomach as I warm up my tea and get ready for bed, the television set to Bravo. Every filtered Friday night Instagram sends my heart straight to my gut (do not pass “GO,” do not collect $200) and a slight shock to my feet. The kind you get when you’re almost in a car crash or when you find out your boyfriend is cheating on you with someone skinnier. The very same kind you get when you stumble upon a picture from a party in your old apartment.
The feelings are also real.
With every weekend recap and hungover phone-call comes genuine laughter paired with disbelief (was Kerri seriously harassed by a Greenwhich homeowner?) followed by immediate sorrow and self-pity. Everything feels really dramatic, like a first-season episode of the O.C. We spend Saturday nights yearning for our four-year routine, even if that routine revolved around a grimy sports bar everyone loved to hate/hated to love followed by the average blacked-out Marco Polo in the streets for a cab.
We want it back and we want it back hard because, as happy as we may be to have a college degree, our home has become a second home and our weekends feel like they’re on pause. We’re rutted in the real world while what feels like the rest of the world is day drinking.
“This is a new chapter,” they said. “It will get better,” they said.
“Ew, you’re a real person now.”
“Brb I’m gonna take some Fireball to the face.”
and “LAST NIGHT WAS CRAZY.”
Refer to this very real (and very touching) message I received last week:
My alma-mater is in New Rochelle and I am from Brooklyn, commonly confused with Brook-dick. He’s also really into Destiny’s Child.
The pattern repeats. Every weekend; until it gets a bit easier, or so I’ve heard it does. Until then, the only advice I can find in what’s left of my heart anchored below my gut is to take every inkling of college with a grain of salt and a deep breath. Feel free to add lime and a shot of tequila.
Try not let your jealousy run rampant. You had a year over these seniors while they thought they were top of the food chain in high school. Back when Four Lokos directly led to heart disease and “I Love College” by Sam Adams was cool.
As excited as I am for the new-generation seniors to make the best of their last semesters, I am equal parts envious and covetous of their Sunday morning struggle and the stories that come with it. Just as I would be with an ex-boyfriend.
Like a bad break-up, post-grad-depression can be cured or at least subdued by Norah Jones pandora, good girlfriends and, of course, relentlessly revisiting your past. Go ahead and label college “DO NOT ANSWER” in your contacts but, by the end of the work week, you will get drunk and you will answer. You will text first and you will beg for a second chance, even when you know you’re better off. You’ve grown up. You and college are just at different points in your lives. You’ve moved on. It’s over, okay?
But there’s a catch (as with most former lovers).
Those seniors you’re closest with with won’t be seniors forever. In two short semesters that will feel like decades, the real world will welcome them with the same open arms and student loans as you continue on your career path and finally find some normalcy.
Now is the time to get caught up in a college love-affair.
Give into an ex-lover (no, not that one). Go back and go wild. Escape your mundane nine-to-five and throw back a few Natty Lights over a round of shirtless civil war, if only for the weekend. In a few fleeting years, you’ll recognize more buildings than faces on the campus you once called home – and that’s okay – because, like an ex-lover you can’t forget, your college will always be yours.
So, sleep in an age-old school sweatshirt that still smells like your first apartment. Cuddle up with a movie you saw with your roommates freshman year. Admire old photos like these:
because, as much as it swears it’s happy with someone else, college misses you too.
That doesn’t mean it’s not time to move on.