Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Larry's Got It Right

As I was reading Larry’s blog this morning about his feelings towards the real world, I couldn’t help but relate to almost everything he had to say. The real world isn’t nearly as fun as college and that’s often been a hard thing for me to come to grips with, and that’s assuming I’ve come to grips with it (which I haven’t).

When I was a freshman at college, I didn’t dive right into the college life like many freshman do. I came into it with an air of fear and an overpowering sense of not belonging. There I was, surrounded by people I didn’t know in an environment that was totally unfamiliar completely on my own, all alone. I worked hard at my classes and focused most of my time on being successful at school and staying in shape. I had injured myself pretty badly at the beginning of freshman year so for the first half of the year I was getting myself rehabilitated while the second half of the year I was focusing on getting into better shape than I was in.

Working out became the only other real big focus for me besides school. I didn’t drink, so partying wasn’t appealing. Many of the kids I had class with were either unbelievably geeky (I was a computer science major after all), elitist assholes (I was in honors after all), or drunken idiots (I was a freshman after all). Needless to say, I didn’t have the most active social life.

Freshman year came to an end and it felt like I had simply been away at camp for an extended period of time. Some things changed in my life that summer and I came back to college my sophomore year with the attitude of most freshman. Now I wanted to go out and make friends, go to parties, meet people, and really dive into the college life. What was hard was the fact that all of the sophomores I knew had already established themselves and their social circles so I was forced to go out and search for my friends. I found many, actually, but they were all most a year or two ahead of me. Now, years after they’ve graduated, I’ve lost contact with most of them. No doubt many of them are married and have lives started by now.

Junior year I really hit my stride in college. I had a great group of friends, I was playing a ton of intramural sports, I was on the ultimate frisbee club team, school was going great, and I just felt at home in the college environment. Finally, everything started clicking and everything was going swimmingly for me.

Senior year was even better than junior year. I still had a great social circle. I made even more friends, grew closer to the ones I already knew, found an absolutely breathtaking girlfriend, and I felt like nothing could get better. Really, it couldn’t.

Then graduation came. That was rough. Even though I was coming back for one more semester to finish my philosophy major to complement the computer science major I’d already completed, it felt weird graduating. My final semester of school was great, but not quite as awesome as the second semester of my senior year. December quickly rolled around and I was done.

Just as soon as I felt like I had college nailed down and just as soon as I felt like everything was going my way I graduate, get a job in a town 175 miles from St. Cloud, where St. John’s University was, and step into the real world. From the first day of being in the real world, I knew it would never live up to college life.

I kept praying and hoping that the real world just took time to get used to and that it would eventually be as cool as college, but 17 months of being in the real world, I still want to go back to college. Will this feeling ever go away? Will I ever stop longing for the college life? Part of me really hopes so because I think it would suck to constantly live longing for something you can’t have back, but another part of me hopes that at least a little bit of that longing is there. As long as it’s there, I’ll always know that college was a wonderful experience. It really was. I miss it dearly. Anyone want to pay for me to go to grad school?

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