As I’ve mentioned only a thousand times before, I’m soon to leave the safety of the University and head off to make something of myself. While I’m full of misplaced optimism and excitement, I can’t help but reflect on this time that I’ll never have again, that of the college student. Will I miss it?
I have often asked new graduates about the inevitable transition, and for the most part I like what I hear. For one, you come home from work at the end of the day with no more work waiting at home. You have this new magical thing called “expendable income,” and you find yourself in adulthood where you have the power to make of your life what you will.
But what about this absurd life I lead now? I’ve always wondered how college prepares you for the road ahead. Unlike high school, you go to class ten hours a week tops and have freedom for the rest of the time. You are awash in vacations and responsibilities that can wait until noon. And this prepares me for the rigors of a 40-hour work week how?
Like most things in life, it’s what you make of it. When I started college, I discovered a new world of intellectual wonder and alcohol. Mostly alcohol. And that unbelievable free time was not enough for my busy schedule of trying to be the best slacker I could be, so that ten hours quickly became a few. I know many approach college this way, but that doesn’t normally end in a degree.
Well, I’ve transformed now, but it’s still an odd life I lead. My tremendous schedule, one I had to have chair approval to get, is only five classes at an hour and forty-five minutes a pop. That adds up to seventeen and a half hours, not much more than two average working days. And normally professors don’t keep you the whole time; after all, we’re very busy.
Now while I have all this time, my transformation from almost-dropout Navy material to the overachiever student has changed my concept of free time. I spend my days at the library, or more often, hunched over my ancient five-year-old laptop working days on assignments that I would probably get the same grade on if I had done it in ten minutes. While I quite so little else to do, I am constantly busy, and it’s my own doing.
And while some might think, “Gee, what about filling that time with a job?” A few hours a week I clean houses for extra cash, but I’m extremely fortunate that my wonderful, wonderful parents ease my financial burden. But of course, this creates another absurdity in my life where I find myself privileged yet poor.
What could make this more odd? I absolutely love it. I get to spend all my time studying and working on things I’m actually interested in (insert obvious nerd comment here). What’s more, all the scary, real world stuff is nothing more than a promising future I have yet to live. So while I live in this sheltered world where someone can find themselves too broke to eat yet never too broke to buy beer, and the road to adulthood is where the real excitement is, I have to say, I’m going to miss this.