College was one of the easiest times of my life. Sure I struggled with academics and pseudo adult growing pains at times, but all the benefits of going away to school made up for the dull, lengthy study sessions and dread of mid-terms that hit every semester.
Long before I graduated, I knew I'd miss my free time as well as the freedom to hang out with friends 24/7 after college, but here are some things I never, ever expected to long for.
1. Free shirts
They're all over the place on college campuses. It seemed every event I attended came with free t-shirts, all of which served as great workout and pajama tops. Whenever I renewed my football game pass, I was awarded a new Zona Zoo shirt. During Homecoming, my community service fraternity distributed shirts to everyone. I never realized how much I'd miss these faded tees until I moved to NYC, where all clothing is absurdly overpriced.
As much as I enjoyed napping in college, I didn't like what it did to my mind or sleep schedule, and I always had the craziest dreams during the day, so the idea of working from 9 to 5 without a siesta didn't seem too awful at the time. Of course, there are plenty of days when I just want to get some rest for a half hour and then return to editing. I never knew how good I had it when I could go home and sleep after my 8:00 a.m. class!
3. Dorm and apartment shopping
There's nothing that got me more pumped about school than browsing Bed Bath & Beyond's college stuff section. I loved checking out all the Twin XL bed sheet offerings and comforters before the first two years of school, and it was also really fun to look at all the things I didn't need, like toothbrush holders, soap dishes, trash cans, etc.
Every time I go to Chelsea's BB&B, I visit the college area but can never bring myself to purchase anything from it, even if I find something adorable or cheerful. I feel too old now, and that's a shame.
4. Reading the student newspaper
I'm biased because I wrote for my college publication for 2.5 years, but I was an avid reader of the Daily Wildcat well before I grew a pair and decided to apply for a columnist position. I loved waking every morning to the opinions section, feature stories, and letters to the editor. Opening up the crisp newspaper always gave me such an adrenaline rush, as I never knew what to expect or read. Would I be surprised, let down, or amused? There was an element of mystery to it I just don't get anymore in our world of online media. I'd give anything to grab a copy of the Wildcat before work everyday and sift through the pages to see what the student population is up to.
5. Office hours
Many of my professors had an unwritten rule: students who wanted a good grade had to visit during office hours. Some of my classmates disliked the notion that they needed to spend one-on-one time with instructors to get ahead, but I really valued establishing a personal connection with my teachers, all of which definitely went the extra mile for me after I proved I wanted more from the classroom experience than lectures. They were all rooting for me to succeed in all facets of life, and you're not always going to get that in the real world.
6. The university bookstore
Because it has everything a person could ever need.
7. The free gym
So here's the thing: I hated my university gym, which was constantly occupied by bubble-eyed sorority girls and meaty frat guys who stared at themselves in the mirror all afternoon while I busted my ass on the treadmill and sweat like a miserable Disneyland actor. I didn't like having to share the space with people pretending to work out, but I do miss having a free fitness center for four years, so much so that I'd tolerate exercising next to those folks again.