College: The Most Expensive Experience of Your Life (Other Than Buying a Yacht)

I’ve been dreaming a lot about college lately.

Not dreaming in a “I want to go back to school” sort of way. Actually having dreams about being back in college.

It’s not such a bad thing–I had a wonderful college experience. I graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. (Pause for pastoral photos of my Alma Mater:)

An aerial view of campus.
The sign every Mountaineer has posed in front of for proud parents to snap a pic.
East Hall–the dorm I lived in freshman and sophomore year. Yes, we had a tire swing. And yes, it was used. Often.
Our gorgeous football stadium.


Boone in autumn. Breathtaking.
The little town of Boone, NC.
If I could pack a bag and hit the road right now, I’d be there in 8 hours. Ish.

I think about college a LOT. Things I’d have done differently. Things that were so epic I’d love to relive them again. Friends, faculty, experiences…I reminisce a lot about those years of my life.

So much so that I’ve compiled a list for you.

Things I Miss About College:

* That feeling of total and utter independence. For the first time in your young life, it’s YOUR decision. Want ice cream for dinner? Do it! Want to sleep in and skip psychology? No one will tell on you! Want to have a sleepover? On a school night? With a boy??? Make it so!

* Learning. Every single day. That sudden understanding that furthering your education, and the thirst for knowledge, doesn’t make you the dork you feared you’d become in high school. In fact, that 8 hour stint you pulled at the library to study for your chem final doesn’t even put you in the same category as the girl next to you, who was there when you arrived and is making no move for the exit as you leave.

* Having your friends a doorway away. I miss the days when I could walk down the hall, knock on a door, and know there would be a friend on the other side.

* PARTIES! The kind that keep you up all night, the kind where the red cups cost $5 but the booze is free, the kind that leave you with memories that last a life time.

* Waking up on a Saturday morning to a crisp, cool autumn day, painting a giant gold “A” on my face, donning my favorite App State t-shirt, grabbing my black and gold pom pom, and heading to the stadium for a football game. The ONLY day of the week where drinking beer is suitable before noon. (Usually.)

I was voted “Most School Spirited” in high school. It followed me to college.

* That “Friday Afternoon, Just Got Out Of My Last Class of the Week, What’s Gonna Happen This Weekend” feeling. God, don’t you miss that feeling?!??!?!

* Opportunities. College is a wealth of opportunities. It’s an internship, a writer’s workshop, a position on the school newspaper. Or maybe it’s a weekend camping trip with friends, a road trip to a concert with your roommate, your very first frat party. Every single day, you’re faced with an opportunity. Real life just isn’t like that. (Unless you consider paying the electric bill an opportunity.)

But as much as I loved college, and as much as I miss it, there’s no way I’d go back. Because there’s a lot of things about college that I DON’T miss.

Things About College I Don’t Miss:

* Tests.

* Papers.

* The sick, nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach right before you take a test/turn in a paper.

*Similarly, that sick, nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach you have until you get the grade back for that test/paper.

* PARTIES! The kind that keep you up all night, the kind with the $5 red cups but the booze is free, the kind that cause you to spend the next 2 days feeling like you’ve been hit over the head with a sledgehammer.

* Paperwork. Have you ever, in your entire life, had so much PAPERWORK to fill out? With deadlines and copies of this and originals of that? Just to ensure you were even allowed to attend class?

* That whole “searching for yourself” thing. I’m glad to have finally figured out who I am and what’s important to me. But getting here? Not so much fun. I don’t miss the angst at all.

* Having to save quarters just to wash your laundry in sub-par machines that sometimes work, and sometimes don’t. And playing Russian Roulette with your clothing if you decide to step down the hall for a quick convo with your neighbor. Will your clothes still be in the dryer when you get back? Or will some impatient bimbo have moved them to the dusty, spider-ridden corner so she can dry her delicates?

* That 8 am math class that’s on the other side of campus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Which isn’t SO bad…unless it’s snowing. Hard. On test day.

As much as I’d love to go back and visit, wander the campus and see what’s changed, reminisce with my husband about the “good old days,” I’d never go to college again.