This time two years ago I was dreading September. I probably hadn’t done the summer reading or bought my school supplies and I wanted to soak up as much sun as possible before the incommodious school year returned.
As Michael Scott would say, "Oh, how the turn tables have turned."
I have a count-down app on my phone and in the beginning of May it has five countdowns. Four were concerts and two weeks ago only one was left. The only one that mattered, really. Return to Hartford (as of writing this, there’s 20 days, 22 hours, and 35 minutes until I move back in, but who’s counting?). And I’m not alone. My friends all lament at the incredulous amount of time they have between now and move in day. They all say, “I miss school a lot” then quickly add “It’s not that I don’t like spending time with you guys it’s just…” And we’ll all nod vigorously and “No we agree, we love hanging out at home but we want to get back to college.”
My brother on the other hand, a junior in high school, is where I was. He hates the idea of back to school shopping and would rather lounge about at home than go back to school. So I began to wonder why our ideas about September are so different and why my views changed. Then I got it. College is like a free 30 day trial run for real life; you’re on your own, your parents aren’t around, you can eat what you want, and live your life on most of your own terms. Eventually you know you’re going to have to pay the terms and condition like everybody else but for a period of time, it’s blissful.
High school you have to live on someone else’s contract (sticking with the same metaphor). You are forced to go to an ugly building for 8 hours, eat ‘healthy’ food and be told ketchup is a vegetable, and rely on others (other students, teachers, bus drivers, the community) a lot. College you don’t have to. Yes I have more classes than what I had in high school but they’re more fun, even the tough ones. And I can chose what classes I want, I don’t have to worry about placing into honors US history II or regular US history II. I can take classes that interest me that I want to learn about. And I have SO much more freedom. Maybe it’s just because I come from a small town and go to school in a city, but I can’t always just go for a walk. If I want to, I have to plan it out, take into consideration the roads and woods, and most frustratingly (but understandable) I have to tell my parents. That’s what took the most getting used to. At home, if I wanted to go do something with my friends, my parents would ask if I’d be back for dinner. I don’t have to think about this when I’m on my own. I eat dinner between 5:30 and 8:30 at college and I don’t have to tell anyone where I am.
So for the next 20 days and 22 hours I am going to live on someone else’s contract. But when that 22nd hour is up, I’m going to enjoy my free 30 day trial because eventually I’ll have to pay full price but for now, I’m going to enjoy my own contract. At least till Christmas.