A friend wrote the following status on Facebook the other day: “I miss college, but not school.” Her words hit a soft spot for me as I look back on my own college experience. I don’t miss the all-nighters in the library or the long essays on the theory of rhetoric. But I do miss a couple important aspects of college life.
I can’t say my college years were as happy and carefree as they are often portrayed in the movies. However, I can say that they stretched my perspective on life, introducing me to a plethora of different cultures, beliefs, and attitudes. To honor the anniversary of my graduation from college, I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the things I miss most about my college journey.
The depth of relationships
It has been said: “friends are the family you choose.” This quote describes what my friendships meant to me in college. While I am content with my relationships in post-graduate life, I’ve yet to experience the depth of the friendships I experienced in college. My friends in college were my grounding roots, my protective shelter, my comic relief, my teachers, and my family. They created a safe place for me to be vulnerable, expressing feelings and reflections that I had once only reserved for myself.
I miss having the ability to communicate everything I feel with just a look; or understanding quirks, preferences, fears, and passions about another person so well that it feels like they are a natural extension of myself. While Skype has become a saving grace in maintaining these friendships—closing the gap between different states and continents—it will never replace the quality time spent together on a daily basis.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. In college, I had the opportunity to explore and foster my deep love for culture, language, and diversity. In recent weeks, I have often find myself missing the long discussions I had about the Soviet Union with my Moldovan roommate, the authentic Indian food I prepared with my friend from New Delhi, and the rich and fulfilling French conversations I took part in with my classmates and professors. Through these moments of cultural immersion, I developed different attitudes about the rest of the world and myself. In post-graduate life, culture is still a large part of my life; however it doesn’t feel as effortless and habitual as it did in college.
“Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”
“Live the questions now.”
Attending a liberal arts college, I was always encouraged to ask questions, even when there wasn’t always an easy answer or solution. Throughout my college years I participated in a weekly discussion group, built on the premise of posing questions about various life topics (e.g. community, fear, relationships, vocation, etc.). Within this community of curious individuals, I became part of a safe space where questions, vulnerability, and uncertainty were embraced.
As a post-graduate, I find myself seeking out answers and solutions more than questions. While college students are expected to explore different options and pose questions, it seems as though graduates are expected “to figure things out.” Sure there are still a lot of uncertainties in my life, but as a young professional I do feel the pressure to maintain a sense of certainty about the future.
I am happy and content as a post-graduate; but a part of me will also always be a bit nostalgic for those four life-changing years, of profound friendship, cultural immersion, and a shared love for questions.