What I Thought I Missed About College While I Was Home for the Summer

What I Thought I Missed About College While I Was Home for the Summer

It's not just my friends, the parties and the freedom, which I guess I didn't really miss that much anyway.

Being a college student can be quite an experience. Classes aren't the same as high school. Parties aren't the same as high school. Life isn't the same as high school. Whether you're a freshman or a senior, whether you live on campus or if you commute, there are just some things about college that you miss while you're back home for the summer... and some that you don't.

Housing - While I was back home for the summer, I could only think about one thing: moving back into my on campus apartment. Living at home, I was constantly missing my freedom. I was missing having my own place. I was always with my family, doing whatever we always do as a family. At school, I have my own home. I can decorate it however I want. I can invite over whoever I want. I can come home at whatever time I want, with no one to stop me from doing any of it. If I want to fall asleep on the kitchen floor at two o'clock in the afternoon for absolutely no reason at all, I can. If I want to hang an old hubcap up on my wall and call it art, I can. If I want to let the garbage can get so full that it overflows all over the floor, I can. Unfortunately, now that I'm back at school, I'm realizing that on campus housing is one of the things that I definitely did not miss while I was living at home over the summer. I did not miss sleeping in a twin size bed. Those things are uncomfortable even for just me, and they're quite impossible for a sleepover. I did not miss the three foot by three foot shower space with a shower curtain that consistently attaches itself to my vulnerable body mid shower. I did not miss having a refrigerator that leaks all over the place and freezes everything within it. I did not miss the dishwasher that randomly spews soap bubbles out of every possible crevice until they have covered the kitchen floor. I did not miss the unalterable arctic temperatures in the buildings. I did not miss sitting in kitchen chairs that feel as though they could collapse beneath the wait of a nickel at every meal. I did not miss having an oven who's front panel is literally dangling on by a thread. I did not miss having a shelf in my closet that is almost too tall to reach. I did not miss having to sign into the building every night when I return home. Most importantly, I did not miss having to prove to someone, weekly, that I am in fact still maintaining life on my own and that my roommates and I have not yet died or set anything on fire.

Dining - Being home for the summer, my schedule got a little crazy and I often found myself skipping meals or eating super unhealthily. Come midnight (and sometimes even later), the only dining options available, if any, are unappealing fast food places, or whatever junk food one could find in their pantry. All summer, I found myself saying things like "If we were on campus right now, we'd be at Birch," or "If I was back in my apartment, I know I'd have something better to eat." A week and a half into being back on campus, I am starting to realize how much better off I was at home. I still have yet to go grocery shopping and have been mooching off of my roommates for days. I went to the freshman dining hall (not by choice, but because it was the only thing that was open at the time, and found myself eating curly fries and cucumbers at every meal. I am currently awaiting the perfect opportunity to ask my mother to take me grocery shopping so that she can buy me things slightly healthier than the Taco Bell I ordered at 2:15 this morning. As much as I hate to admit it, I regret how often I took advantage of having home cooked meals prepared for me and having common household ingredients replaced without me having to buy them.

Work Load - Over the past few months, I had been working a decent amount. I started my summer working thirty hour work weeks. That slowly increased to thirty-two and thirty-six hour work weeks. It eventually became thirty-eight and forty hour work weeks, and I ended my summer with a fifty hour work week. I would wake up in the morning, get ready for work and arrive by 11:30. I would work until 5:30, return home, get ready to go to the gym, work out for an hour or so, and return home, yet again, to make dinner (or eat the dinner that was already made) and go to bed, only to awake the following morning and repeat it all over again. I often complained about how busy I was and how little free time I had for myself, even though I had weekends off. Now, I am attempting to take six classes and working three jobs, while being an undergraduate teaching assistant and holding an e-board position for an organization that I am involved with.

I realize how easy my summer actually was, and I find myself wishing daily that I could have that schedule back. I want to work one job and relax on the weekends. I want to come home to delicious meals already made for me. I want to wake up in my full size bed to find that my mom has folded my laundry and that my dad has fixed the things that I lead him to believe that I was incapable of doing on my own. Although I am excited to be back at school with my friends, and I am eager to continue to prove myself as an adult in the real world, I do miss being at home.

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Will Enough Ever Be Enough?

Yet another school shooting in America, still nothing done. We are dying.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018: We are all heartbroken to hear about another school shooting.

At Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old male is pronounced dead at the scene after shooting two other students and a school resource officer. Just before their first period started, at 7:55 am, Austin Rollins shot one male and one female student with a handgun before being shot by the school's resource officer. While the 16-year-old female is in critical condition, the 14-year-old male is currently stable. This is the 17th school shooting in 2018. That's 17 days out of the past 80 that parents have gone to bed with their children in body bags as a result of gun violence.

I don't care what political party you associate with, gun violence is completely out of control. I am a registered Republican and completely agree with stricter gun laws. Learn the difference between a gun ban and sales control. Concerned citizens are not trying to take away your guns, but are trying to take away the rights from those that are risks.

Could you imagine legally having to send your child to school but never coming back? You've packed their lunch, maybe with a special note, and gave them a kiss before they left for school, not knowing that it was their last. No matter where we go, we are not safe. We can't go to malls, movie theaters, schools, or even churches without having to worry if it will be our last trip. Our homes, our places of worship, and our schools are supposed to be the places where we feel safest and, instead, our children are filled with fear. Instead of focusing on the political views that divide these groups, why don't we focus on what unites us? Why don't we focus on protecting our kin?

Everyone has had an opinion on the walkouts that have been happening around the country. Everyone has had an opinion on the 17 minutes of silence for the 17 children lost in the Florida shooting. I've seen people disgusted that Nickelodeon had 17 minutes of broadcast cut because it "interrupted the only program [I] let [my] children watch".

If your child was shot at school, you wouldn't have to worry about what programs they watch, but rather where to bury them and how to afford their memorial.

I've seen people saying that it's no wonder that Millenials are dumb. They "find any excuse to cut class". Have you thought about the fact that they are genuinely worried about going to school?

Personally, I've experienced both a shooting scare at my high school and a bomb threat at my college. I shouldn't have to worry about my life ending. I'm legally forced to go to high school and get an education or I'm putting myself into a lifetime of debt to get a degree.

We are all too young to stress about gun violence. Our school years are supposed to be the times our of lives, but they're being wasted on worrying about dying every day.

Rest in peace to all of those who have lost their lives in shootings, not only this year, but always. Hopes, thoughts, and prayers go out to their loved ones. One day, we will unite and find a solution.

We need to work together and forget the labels of parties and cliques in school and look out for one another instead. There is no kind but mankind.

Cover Image Credit: Boston Herald

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The Republican Versus Democrat Stigma Needs To Slow Down

We Need To Be Individual Again

We as a society have developed an unnecessary need to place people in a specific party based on what could be a single value out of many. This is a letter for those who do not define themselves as one or the other; for those whose values range between conservative and liberal, for those who feel the unfortunate pressure of society to choose one even though your values do not fit just one.

The political parties at one point generally just meant “these are my basic beliefs, so this is the candidate I will vote for because they most closely represent them.” Party affiliation was harmless. Republicans and Democrats could get along fine, differing opinions not getting in the way of relationships and alignment. More importantly, you did not have to be part of a specific political party to be an active member of society. Your opinions and principles were yours.

Over the years following the last two election races, political parties gained a much more significant and defining meaning in our lives as individuals and as members of society. There is a newly developed stigma behind political opinions. You are almost pressured to feel one way or another about every single topic. If a majority of your values are of the conservative agenda, you must be a heart-and-all Republican. In contrast, if you are more liberal-leaning you are docked as a set Democrat. We as citizens are being labeled according to what may be a few hard-values. And dishearteningly enough, can be ridiculed for what we value. Even if you might not value everything the same as your determined party.

There exists those of us that hold values from both parties. It is possible to value women’s rights and also value a traditional marriage. It is possible to be a gun owner and also active in keeping children safe in school. You do not have to just submit to every belief of one party. You can value aspects of different parties and still be a functioning member of the American society. Do not let the looming obligation to declare yourself as strictly one or the other. You do not have to pretend you agree with everything Democratic or everything Republican; you can have your own values. And you should. Our society is messed up in the way that values are pushed on citizens. We are meant to be free individuals with our private values.

It is not fair to those of us who value different things. Not every American is a to-the-bone Democrat or Republican. It is possible to hold liberal beliefs as a conservative person. And Vice-Versa. We need to stop labeling one another as one or the other, conservative or liberal. We need to stop silencing each other because we have differing views. We need to accept not everyone is perfectly one party, and diversity exists. Open mindedness exists in Americans, despite the seemingly growing generalizations. We need to be able to agree to disagree on certain topics.
Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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