5. This is no longer “my time to figure out who I am.”
There is a line in a song from the musical Avenue Q that goes, “In college you know who you are.” This is possibly something of a misstatement, but I understand the sentiment: in college, you know who you are inasmuch as you DON’T have to define yourself as anything, just yet. You can be the unicycle guy for one week, the goth/musical theater guy the next, the amputee/razor scooter guy a week after that, and the preppie cokehead the week after that. This sort of amorphous identity is commonplace in college, but in Real Life Land, it is very important to be able to answer questions like, “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” with definite answers. Oh well.
4. For better or for worse, a college-wide conversation (ie: core curriculum) is a nice thing.
As fun as it was to joke about Columbia kids turning everything into a reference to Plato’s “Symposium”, it was pretty damn ace to be able to have a common vocabulary. Not in a wheat-from-the-chaff kind of way, or anything. It was just comfortable, familiar. As much as awkwardly placed refs to esoteric texts from Classical Philosophy can ever be comfortable and familiar.
3. Free food. Everywhere. Everywhere, free food.
There is a serious lack of this commodity outside of college campuses. There are free samples in malls and outside of the Auntie Ann’s on 8th, but that is about it. Some nights, I just don’t want to pay for food, okay? Am I not an American? I’m pretty sure one of the stipulations of the Bill of Rights is that I get free food whenever I want.
2. “Hey, didn’t I meet you at that thing!” counts as flirting, especially when shouted in the back of a bar.
In accordance with this, “Hey, do you maybe wanna go somewhere else?” counts as seduction, “Your face is cute mppphhgghhh…” equals romance, and “So… I’m going to write my number on your Gen Chem homework. Maybe I’ll see you in lecture—Gen Chem lecture,” counts as closure.
1. One word: Proximity.
In college, if I was ever bored of my current surroundings, I could always just walk a maximum of fifty feet, knock on a friend’s door, and say, “What up! I’m bored… do you have food or any interesting problems you’d like to discuss?” To do that now would be weird—contrary to the beliefs furthered by network sitcoms, I don’t know the other people who live in my apartment building, and I don’t want to. Then we’ll start hanging out and signing for each other’s packages and eventually there will either be a fistfight or a marriage. I don’t like those odds.