I Miss College

Nolan is obsessed with trains and took an Amtrak to Portland last year with my parents. He's been talking about it a lot lately, so I decided it would be fun to take him on the two hour train trip to my old college town for the weekend. We hung out with friends, played at the park, ate a lot of good food, shopped downtown, visited a few museums, rode a mini train, drove go carts, got wet at a spray ground, and explored my alma matter, Western Washington University.

I graduated with a degree in Political Science in 2002. Eleven years ago. ELEVEN! My mind is totally blown when I think about that. In some ways it feels like no time has gone by. In other ways that time period feels like a teeny, tiny blip in my life. And as much as I love my life where it is, my family, my kids, sometimes I really do miss college. WWU is fifteen minutes from Canada, where the drinking age is 19, and back then you didn't need a passport to cross the border. Most of the time we didn't even bother going to Vancouver. The border towns of White Rock, Langley and Surrey had bars and clubs and legal booze. We did meet the occasional Canuck, but most of the time those places were filled with fellow students. Fun nights, let me tell you. Thank God we didn't have camera phones back then. OH MY GOD. HOW AM I OLD ENOUGH TO SAY THAT?

You know what else I miss?

Wearing pjs to the grocery store. During a late night trip, I'd buy a salad from the salad bar, a Coke, and a ton of candy. Balanced diet.

Wearing pjs to class. Pajama pants were not frowned upon at my liberal college. I didn't wear them constantly, but definitely did once or nine times to an 8:00 am course. Hey, I had a hippie in one class who never even bothered to wear shoes!

Having a best friend for the quarter. I'd instantly hit it off with someone on the first day of class and become fast friends and study partners, but when the class was over ten weeks later, so was the friendship.

Having a best friend for the night. I'd go to a party, meet a random girl, and bond over the drink we're drinking or the song that's playing and become inseparable. I'd have the time of my life with my new bestie and then never see her again.

Having a boyfriend for the night. Oops. You know how it goes. See a cute guy, hook up all night and never speak of it again.

Meaningless jobs. I worked 20 hours a week at TJ Maxx. Not glamorous at all. But I loved not having any responsibility and all the drama that came with a store full of my favorite co-eds.

Being poor and not caring. I worked just enough for rent, alcohol and gas. I had a credit card for clothes, which I didn't pay off until I was 26. No one worries about saving money, getting a better job, or all that other stupid fiscal responsibility in college.

Student discounts. We didn't just save money on books and hoodies, we got discounts everywhere: movies, restaurants, cell phones, plane tickets, car rentals, local shops, and tickets to games, concerts, museums, and musicals.

All-nighters. You know, "I do my best under pressure" and all that crap. At the time, staying up all night to start AND finish a 20-page paper was the worst thing ever, but I'd trade one of those for a staying up all night with my croupy kid in a heartbeat. 

Skipping school. You'll never be able to just not go somewhere ever again. Professors don't care if you show up for class. You can skip all you want as long as you show up on exam days. "Mental health days" are harder to come by in the real world.

I also miss beer bongs, food fights, becoming best friends with our neighbors, becoming worst enemies with our other neighbors, having my sister in college with me for six months, drunken human pyramids, our beer can Christmas tree, the computer lab at 3:00 am, the one club in town, the gay bar in town, the bookstore, pissing off my moody roommate, stalking Ryan Stiles, working on political campaigns, cute boys, floating on the lake, the campus when it snowed, awesome professors, walking everywhere, crappy, but delicious food, never really being tired, camaraderie and naiveté.

You know what I didn't experience?

Dorms. I went to a community college first, so went straight to an apartment with roommates from my hometown when I transferred.

Frat parties. My school didn't have a Greek system, so I missed out on that aspect of college life. Or did I?

The gym. I walked the track or around the lake with a friend sometimes, but we were mostly just socializing at night when it cooled off in the summer. Why didn't I take advantage of the free gym?

Tailgating. I went to exactly one football game. We weren't bad, but football was not a big deal. It was actually cut a few years after I graduated. Like I said, very liberal college.

Dating. I was definitely interested and "hung out" with a handful of guys, but Jacob and I got together a few months after I started college. What was I thinking? I wasted my youth. Just joking, babe!

There is a time and place for everything, and it's called college. - Bill Cosby
What do you miss about college?


Misty said...

Oh, I had some random ass jobs back in the day. And I spent all the money I made on clothes and booze.

I definitely had a few guys for just one night too. Whoops!

Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

This totally makes me long for college again too. Granted I like you went to a community college, and transferred when I was at junior status so I moved into the off campus (but owned by the school) apartments with 6 other girls in one apartment... I shit you not, talk about ups and downs. Half of us loved each other, two of them thought we were racist, and other times we all got along great. Ugh the joy of living with women. I only lived on campus for a year, then commuted the rest. But I still enjoyed every minute of it.

We had Frats etc but the Sorority girls couldn't have houses, something about the laws saying more than three women living together that aren't related being a brothel?? Nice right? So yeah, my roomie was in a sorority and she NEVER spoke highly of her sisters and it made me realize I didn't miss anything... unless you count the cute sweatshirts and letters. And maybe some parties.

I didn't tailgate either, our FB team wasn't the greatest. It was our lacrosse teams that were beast. Either way I never went to a single game.

Dating - I missed out too, well I had a boyfriend but ... honestly it was long distance and it held me back I think. Too many nights spent on the phone with him when I could have been partying with my roomies. Thankfully your relationship was a keeper!

Your college looks amazing - and so cool it was that close to Canada, talk about CULTURE!!! Thanks for sharing your memories and bringing up fond ones of my own from my college days.

PS If you are really missing beer bongs... come to AL next summer. If I'm not pregnant we'll go kayaking and we'll bong the whole way down the creek. Yeah, I'm 30 something and still partake in beer bongs! ;)

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I barely dated, used the free gym three times in four years, and when I was in school we didn't even carry phones with us.

Great post!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

How did I think we were almost the same age? I thought you were like 2 years older than me? Lol oops! That just means you look good ;)

You DEF missed out on Greek life! That's where all of my best memories and friends were made. All of the guys coming to my birthday party this weekend are the fraternity guys I used to hang out with.

I def missed out an a college town though. OC is such a commuter area boo!

Looks like you guys had fun! The little guy always seems so happy.

Gwen said...

Oh, how I miss skipping classes...

Suze said...


I miss college sometimes too. And those fast and furious friendships. And the GYM- oh my gosh. So sweet. And cheap travel. Sigh.

Kaitlin Rose said...

I'm only three months out of college and I miss these perks too! I want to add: Needing no excuse to drink. A beer after class, wine on a Monday night...why not?

Great post!

Karen M. Peterson said...

Yay for Poli Sci majors!!

Your campus looks so beautiful!

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

I miss some of those things, I really do! I don't miss studying at all though!

jessica said...

I love this post so much! I completely agree with you. I think just the no responsibility thing and not worrying about the future so much, is what I miss. Life is definitely awesome now but it was pretty awesome back then, too ;) Your college campus looks GORGEOUS, by the way. I think I want to go there now. haha