This week I’m going to Palo Alto for my five-year college reunion. Whenever I tell people why I am going, I say it’s so that I can meet all the people that I’d never consciously choose to meet. Which sounds great to me, but to most other people it sounds terrible. Ehh.
I had lots of fun in college! But I also had lots of the opposite of fun: terrible, crushing despair.
Now that I have some perspective, it’s obvious to me that my college years were some of the worst of my life. I acquired many bad habits, I didn’t produce anything, and I didn’t learn anything. I am sure that I learned more in high school than I did in college, and I was definitely happier in high school.
Still, crushing despair is good for forming bonds with people. And I met many people in college who I feel lots of affection towards. And since graduating, I have spent some much happier times with them.
I’d have to say that the last four years of my life (my B.A. in Real Life) have been much happier, more productive, and education than my college years. There was definitely an adjustment period, a period where I had to learn how to socialize with people now that my friendships weren’t handed to me pre-packaged by school. And working for eight hours a day was a rude shock for a person who was used to waking up at 2 PM.
But in general, it’s been really excellent to meet new people, meet different kinds of people, learn what I want to learn, work on what I want to work on, achieve some amount of career success, and just, in general, be an adult. Some people know how to make the best of an extended adolescence. I, clearly, do not. Sometimes I do think about what it’d be like to go back and do it again with all the skill that I have now: a work ethic, a sense of responsibility, social skills, etc.
But, on the other hand, if I was back in college, I’d probably feel compelled to take classes in all kinds of bullshit. And do extracurriculars! And work internships! Oh my god. College is really full of so much pointless makework. And you have to pay them in order to do it!
No, you know. It’s just better to be free. At least nowadays when I am forced to do something that I don’t want to do, I usually get paid for it.