the college transformation

by Natalie

Freshman Year  

You are not sure how you ever woke up and made it to high school by 7:30 am. You now wake up at ten, but do not really become a functioning human being until after 2 pm. You still care about gossip among your high school friends, and there are lingering effects of prom drama. Skipping class and doing nothing is amazing. You find yourself having deep philosophical conversations about the meaning of life in the dining hall. No one judges you for wearing sweatpants. All day.

Sophomore Year

You realize you are an individual. You will never work for the man, even though you are not quite sure who the man is. Bandana’s become a fashion statement. After college you are going to move to Thailand and work with village orphans. There are more important things in life besides money. You conveniently forget that mom and dad are footing the bill for your meal plan.

Junior Year

You are not sure how you were ever friends with half of those people from high school. Besides, you’ve changed. You could not pinpoint these changes if asked to, but you know they are there. You still have one year left to ignore the looming Real World. Running home drunk from the bar is acceptable/encouraged behavior.

Senior Year

You take all those GenEd’s you blew off your freshman year, which is how you wind up in a class full of freshman. Except you were never that annoying. Your wardrobe suddenly spawns a suit, and unlike your other clothes, it does not look alright after lying crumpled on the floor. The question, “What do you want to do?” suddenly becomes terrifying, as well as a reason to avoid all family gatherings. Or really, any social gathering with people beyond the age of 22. You still dream of running away to the mountains to build campfires and sing Kumbaya, but have unfortunately come to the stark realization that you do not look all that great in a bandana. You go from saying, “I do not want to work in a cubicle,” to asking, “Do you offer benefits?” You wish you had hung out with more kids who majored in business, and you now point and laugh at kids with weird hair/piercings/tattoos, while snickering, “Good luck getting a follow up interview.” It no longer seems cool that some of your peers practice Buddhism. Buddha isn’t hiring. The cute stoner who lives across the street is not exhibiting any signs of earning potential, and no longer looks like boyfriend material. Your body suddenly craves nutrition instead of a steady diet of pasta, ice cream, and beer. You stop thinking of your parents once every other month, and start to wonder, “Will they take me back?”

The Year After Graduation

Waking up early sucks. Waking up early after going to bed late also sucks. Realizing you can no longer stay up late because you have to wake up early really sucks. Your friends start talking about their relationships being “serious.” That couple that dated all through college gets engaged. You all knew it was going to happen, but it is still weird. Your thoughts alternate between, “Well what do I do now that I did not find my soul mate during the prime years of opportunity,” to, “I do not want to settle down until I have had an amazing life accomplishment, like discovering a new species in Fiji. Or at the very least going to Fiji.” Maybe you can marry someone from Fiji. You wish your friends would stop talking about babies. You wish you would stop thinking about your friends having babies. You wish you were not at the stage of life where people can have babies. You like not worrying about spending money on a latte, but you hate giving into consumerism. You start reading non fiction. It seems like a good idea to get an Economist subscription. You catch yourself watching the evening news so that you know what everyone is talking about at the office the next morning. You never check Facebook.