Say what you will about the toxic schoolwork and the unremarkable dramas that college brings, but it’s when you find yourself and gain some of the most precious experiences you could have. And often, the worst day in your college life trumps the best day in your professional life. Because let’s face it, the only job you really had when you were in college was to be yourself, and sometimes that is a luxury in itself.
Life was more bohemian in college despite the rules. You got to read books and write for four years. What’s so stressful about that? You were surrounded by like-minded people who will become your best friends. And college friendship is unlike any other. You are bonded by a string of interests that develops into passions well into adulthood (whether it is writing, binge-drinking, or falling in love). Students now who think that they’re having the shittiest years of their life are in for a shock. Because we were.
When we were in college, we couldn’t wait to start working and live our dreams. Our heads were filled with possibilities and every day we got closer to graduation, we became more and more adamant about Carpe-Dieming the hell out of life. I wanted to find out immediately if I could write professionally, some wanted to teach and get the career stability they wanted as early as possible. Others wanted to go even deeper in studying Linguistics and Literature.
We were in a rush to leave the university because somehow we thought that it was too mediocre for our greatness. Because if we could survive college and still have time to drink or spend a lot of time loitering around school and reading books outside the required reading list, then surely we could handle the real world? But careers are not rooted primarily on what you can do. Movies such as Dead Poets Society and Mona Lisa Smile romanticized things too much for us. Basically, they aimed to show us that conformity is shitty. But there’s a reason why those movies are set in the 50s. It’s the 50s. Sometimes, revolution is not the answer.
Because the fact that you’re talented or passionate doesn’t always guarantee your success. The corporate world will not revolve around you. Dream jobs are punctuated with politics and dealing with difficult people and tolerating your own madness. Even if you love what you do, you will go insane on a regular basis and you will question why you chose to do it in the first place. It’s a different kind of life that requires a different kind of you. And sometimes you’ll need the people you met when you were the most You and the least Another Person.
So I apologize to my college self for being the passive-aggressive misanthrope I mostly am today. I’m sorry for all the mistakes I didn’t do when I was younger because it seems a thousand times stupider to commit them today. I’m sorry to all the friends I thought I could live without, because I can’t. You are a part of me, scars and all. And I’m sorry for the three articles that need to be written today because as much as I want and love to write, I’m high on tea and couldn’t care less about Italy right now.