Things I Miss About School
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Student Life

Things I Miss About School

The maudlin musings of a graduate.

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Things I Miss About School
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A few months ago I graduated college. Although I am going to go to graduate school in the next year or two, at the moment I am no longer a student. For the first time since I was five years old my days are bereft of time in class, homework, and required reading. While it is a relief to not have homework anymore, I still miss it. All of it.

1. I miss having variety in my day.

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There is something mentally stimulating about having four different classes a day, alternating days for classes, and extracurriculars afterward. Even if I had a boring class, I never had to be bored for more than an hour and a half a day. As a non-student adult, you can be bored for more than eight hours a day, every day.

2. Having friends right around the corner.

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My friends in college were entertaining, compassionate, dramatic people. When I was around them I was never bored and I could always prevail upon someone to talk to me if I wanted to. While friends at work can be just as good, it is completely different. For one, they probably don’t live within walking distance of you.

3. The excitement of potentiality.

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When you’re in school, there is no pressure on you to be anything, because you are working on becoming something. When you’re a non-student adult, everyone expects you to be something or to be on a career track to becoming something specific. When you’re not or if you didn’t manage to figure out what you wanted to be in school, it can skew your outlook on life to a negative direction.

4. Theatre

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While not everyone participates in theatre while in school, it was one of my favorite things in the world. It still is. Where I’m currently living, however, there is no theatre. (Not even community theatre). I have no outlet for my theatrical energy and, even if I did, I’m more of a theatre academic than anything useful. I may have watched “Shrek: The Musical” the other day and cried when I saw the theatre equipment and flats. God, I miss theatre magic.

5. Having a "respectable" definition.

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When people inevitably ask what you’re doing with your life, it’s nice to have something to say to them that they will respect. Everyone respects the title of student, even if they don’t personally like students. The title says you’re intelligent, that you’re learning, that you are working to have a career one day. After you graduate, if you don’t have a job you like right away, your definition may suddenly become “unemployed” or “nighttime stocker.” While there is nothing wrong with those definitions, the snobbier people in your life may feel differently and there is nothing like passive aggressive "supportive" comments to erode one’s self esteem.

6. Campus food.

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Campus food is often questionable, yes, but it is always there for you when you don’t want/don’t have time to make meals for yourself, and you get to pay with imaginary money. (i.e. pay for it later). When you’re no longer a student, there may be no one there to feed you but you and you have to take it out of money from your actual bank.

7. Starbucks

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My college had a Starbucks and a Starbucks sponsored café before that. I love Starbucks coffee. It’s not too sweet (unless I want it to be) and they have the best tasting organic soymilk ever. Whenever I wanted coffee in college, I could walk to the campus center. Now, I have to drive an hour away. (Even Dunkin Donuts is a half hour away)

8. Dorm life.

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I also really liked living in the dorms. I had a single room with beautiful wood floors. The cleaning staff in the dorm was awesome, so I only had to worry about my room/my possessions. Now, I have to add other rooms to my list of cleaning and that eats up time. If I don’t do it, I have to look at the mess. It was also nice that there were a ton of other people living in the dorms. I never had to feel alone. I could find a friend to talk to or assure myself that the noise I heard was just a drunken hockey player.

9. Being excused for not knowing what I’m doing

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When you’re a college student and mess up during an internship or at a paper or something, forgiveness is handed to you fairly readily, because everyone knows that you’re just starting out. You don’t know everything yet and you will learn from your mistakes. When you’re no longer in school, you’re kinda expected to have yourself together.

10. Living with parents, but not living with parents.

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When you’re in college, provided you’re not a commuter, you often simultaneously live on campus and with your parents. You visit your parents some weekends and on holidays, but otherwise you are at college. You have independence, but you can also go home and pretend that you are still a kid. When you’re no longer in college, you either feel like a loser for continuing to live with your parents or have to be on your own full time.

11. Having a sense of purpose.

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Yeah, maybe you’re going to your dream job every day. That is wonderful, if that’s the case. But often, when you first leave school, you feel like your sense of purpose has evaporated. In school, that purpose was passing your classes, figuring yourself out, graduating, and then building a career. If you graduate and can’t immediately find a job that you love, your sense of purpose can evaporate like smoke.

In conclusion, I am heartsick for school. It was a haven of self-exploration and learning that I know I will never experience again, because graduate school is different. From now on, I have to continue to work to find myself and build a career that will give me a sense of purpose and direction.

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