By Derek Reimherr
I’ve been watching all the Facebook announcements about school kicking back up. People are moving into dorms and new apartments, talking about football season, and lamenting the cost of books.
So I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I don’t miss college.
Sure, I got a pang of nostalgia thinking about moving into my dorm for the first time. But my envy ends there.
Don’t get me wrong, my four….and a half….years at The University of Georgia were amazing.
I met some of my best friends, people whose weddings I was in and who were in my weddings. Oh yeah, and I met my wife at school.
I developed a slight obsession with college football. I traveled to almost a dozen away football games, notably going to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party (Google it) three times where UGA won all three years. I was also at every single heartbreaking loss (yes, all of them) between the 2009 and 2013 seasons. I even played NCAA Football 2013 so often that I developed a legit win steak playing as Michigan (sorry for all the butt kicking, Tyler).
I was part of an amazing fraternity where I developed lifelong friendships. I planned a formal event in Charleston with several other chapters. I got to participate in Greek life and collect enough date night t-shirts for a quilt. RIP frocket t-shirt collection, it did not survive my transition to adulthood.
I played flag football, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball rec sports. Our flag football team even went to the championship. I’m sure I’ll be reminiscing about that over Yuenglings at Chile’s for years. I even officiated several of those sports as a referee.
Academically speaking, since you know that’s what college is about, I received two degrees. I worked in a psychology research lab for a year and literally carried out the scientific method. I genuinely learned a ton of new, cool things in my time at school. *Nerd alert*
I joined a leadership development program at my church for a year. Including that, I worked 6 internships while I was in college that helped set me up for where I am now vocationally. Plus, I held a number of other part-time jobs which helped me work on my time management skills.
But it’s easy to look back at college with rose colored glasses. Turn over the rock and all of the sudden, you notice all the bugs. They probably came from under the dresser in your dorm. Honestly, there are a bunch of things about college that really sucked.
Not having money really sucked.
I’m extremely blessed that my parents supported me with food and rent money. Nevertheless, at the end of the semester, I was literally eating baked potatoes and baked beans 5 or 6 meals a week. Have you ever used a coupon book to pay for dates? I did, multiple times. #NoShame
No matter how many Papa John’s pizzas I delivered, there was no way I could take 16 hours of classes and pay for the university meal plan and rent at the same time. Thanks for the $100 tip that one time Tri Delt girl, but that’s not gonna cover the cost of my $250 economics textbook which will suddenly be worth $3.47 at the bookstore in 3 months.
Taking tests every week really sucked.
I’ll be the first one to admit I hate studying. I was all about some shared Google docs with a student-created study guide. There were a few semesters I barely skated by. And to be honest, do I really need to know the science behind low pressure air systems and how they contribute to weather systems? According to my Geology 1103 tests, I did.
Forgot about those tests, didn’t you?
Dealing with academic pressure to keep financial aid really sucked.
Did everyone forget how stressful it was to constantly click refresh on their college academic portal, praying you made that B+ on your final you needed to get the right grade to keep your multi-thousand dollar grant or scholarship? Just me?
Lab classes really sucked.
Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Whether it was a Spanish lab or Biology lab, those 3-4 hour classes once a week were the worst. In my biology 1104 lab, I had to go to grow an ecosystem in a jar and then write a 15 page peer-reviewed backed research paper based on my observations. Because the scientific community desperately needed my 19 years of life-science-hating wisdom on the subject. Speaking of…
Writing 10+ page research papers really sucked.
I recently found my Dropbox file from college with all of my research papers. There were dozens of them. And each one required hours of research, hours invested into a rough draft, hours into a final draft, and then hours of proofreading. I’m not mad that I don’t have to write them anymore.
Having people constantly ask you what you’re doing after college really sucked.
Whether it was peers, friends, fraternity/sorority members, parents, relatives, co-workers...someone was always inquiring about your vocational direction. That in of itself isn’t a big deal. It was the judgment or comparison that came after it. No one cares that you think being counselor, financial planner, marketer, or educator is inferior to a science or law-based track. Go away Karen, you’re the worst. And Uncle Rick, yes, you CAN make money with a communications degree and no, your son is not better than me because he has a marketing degree. Come off it.
Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life after college really sucked.
Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want to do. Some people have a subject they’re really good at, like math, and know they want to use that in some way. Some people had no idea and just kind of figured it out. Like me. So while you’re racking up thousands of dollars in debt, trying out various internships, and fielding questions about your life choices from literally everyone, the countdown to graduation is another week closer. But I was definitely doing okay.
The search for internships really sucked.
Basically every entry level job requires 2-3 years of experience (advanced degree preferred) these days. The only way you can stand out is with internship experience. Some companies offer unpaid internships which is just a cute way of saying vocational volunteering aka working for free. But it’s a great opportunity to build your resume, right? And the internships that actually do pay are rarer than unicorns. Plus, you’re fighting dozens and dozens of other people for the job. Easy peasy.
Student loans really suck.
On a serious note, this is real life, no past tense here. Leaving college with thousands in debt is just tough, especially considering how much entry level jobs pay. The past 30 years have seen a 400% increase in college tuition. As it stands, college tuition increases are continuing to outpace inflation and financial aid isn’t pacing with those increases. So like yeah totally take that semester abroad, it’s NBD.
My time at The University of Georgia was fantastic, life-changing, and foundational to who I am today. But do I miss college? Nah. I’ll take my DINK life living in downtown Atlanta any day.
Athens, GA, on the other hand, will always have my heart.