This past weekend I went to Kalamazoo (for all of you non-Michiganders, yes, it’s a real city) to visit the old college town. I am still reeling from how different it is now from when I went there 15 years ago. Excited to see the school and experience what made college so great (*cough* the bars *cough* ) I pumped myself up to relive one of the best times of my life just for a night. And then it happened.
-The restaurant/bar that I worked at my senior year, the place where I spent equal amounts of time working and playing, had closed.
-The bar that everyone went to Thursday nights for $5.00 pitchers of mixed drinks (I’m surprised my liver functions as well as it does) was no longer the hot spot.
-Whatever entertainment was left included some very bad singing on behalf of the piano bar employees and another place that mixed bull riding with the screeching of a metal band.
CRASH! There went my expectations of reliving the fun of college. We still had a good time, but most of it was back in the hotel room where we listened to 90’s R&B while playing card games. Waking up in the morning was no real joy either and reminded me once again that things are different now. I’m different, what I like is seemingly much different, and it took that kind of night to tell me. The thing is, I don’t mind. I’ve grown up and know a lot more now than I did then, like it’s really not a good idea to walk through the woods by yourself to get home after a night out. I loved college though and despite all of the ridiculous things that I did, I survived and managed to get a degree out of it. It wasn’t perfect, nor should it have been, but if I could give my 18-21 year old self some advice just to smooth out the experience I think I would say:
- Try wearing something other than black pants when you go out. Also, let’s leave some to the imagination with those shirts eh?
- The professor can still see that your sleeping regardless of where you sit in the room so make more of an effort to stay awake.
- If you are that tired, don’t go out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
- Buying a planner is pointless if you don’t use it. Organize yourself then maybe you won’t forget when you need to study.
- You probably shouldn’t wear that to a house party thrown by someone you don’t know. Actually, you probably shouldn’t go to a stranger’s house even if you’re with a friend.
- Wear sunscreen would ya? Yes, golden skin looks much better with your black pants and bar tops, but just think of what your skin is going to look like in 15 years.
- Oh, it’s hard to go to school and have a part time job? Just wait until you have kids (laughs maniacally).
- Stop complaining about the way you look. You don’t even have cellulite yet, sheesh.
- It might be a good idea to save some of that money. You don’t need to spend so much when you go out, especially if the pitchers are only $5.
- You need to work hard, but don’t work for what you think life is going to be like once you are done with school. It won’t be that way, not even close.
Could I have used that advice? Sure and it’s possible that it was given to me at some point. Would I have used it? Um, no, I was young and needed to learn my lessons even if I am paying for them now with sun damage and only student loans to remind me that I took some classes. It’s an interesting exercise though, giving the old me advice considering that the old me made the current me. What advice would you give to your younger self? Enjoy the trip down memory lane!