YOCO: You Only College Once

By Jen Fine, Regular ContributorNovember 10, 2015


image via tvlistings.zap2it.com

As another fun-filled and exciting Halloweekend came to an end, I couldn’t help but recount the events that took place with my roommates, while laying on the couch in our sweatpants, eating candy, and giggling. Although not every weekend is going to live up to the hype that is Halloween weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, I started realizing just how non-normative the college experience really is and just how unacceptable half the things that take place on campus in one short span of 24 hours would be in the real world.

The entire concept of leaving home and moving into dorms and apartments with people who were once strangers that have now become extensions of ourselves is probably one of the most memorable, yet strange, experiences we will have in our lifetimes.

Coming home after a hard day in lab or a long, exhausting workout to a group of your best friends all sitting on the couch watching “Scream Queens” and eating pasta is probably one of the best feelings you could ever have. That being said, these moments are not going to last forever and the idea of actually graduating in a year and a half has really opened my eyes to just how special and unpredictable these four years truly are.

The other day I turned to my friend and told her that someday I would like to write an ethnography on college students, highlighting all of the ways in which being on campus is actually extremely abnormal and inhumane. From sitting around the kitchen and having the boys who live next door randomly pop in to say hi when they’re drunk after a game day to taking a broom and banging on the ceiling so your upstairs neighbors will stop making an ungodly amount of noise, nothing is too taboo or too unheard of at this stage of our lives.

It has come to my attention that, while college is about getting a degree and finding a career that we will flourish in, college is so much more than that. College is waking up on Sunday morning to find a Ping-Pong ball and a random pair of underwear in the couch cushions. College is letting the boys that you met an hour before sleep on your couch at 4am because they can’t find their friends apartment. College is ordering Chinese food at midnight because you’re starving and waiting until 3am to eat it, because while you were waiting you got impatient and made dino-nuggets and pizzas rolls instead.

College is the confusion and the laughter mixed together to make even the worst decisions of our lives feel bearable.

College is running home from dinner in the pouring rain because you didn’t bring an umbrella and your mom can’t just come pick you up in her minivan when you’re ready. College is finding out the most disgusting things about a person and loving them to a fault anyway. College is calling your parents on a Sunday morning, and when they ask how your weekend was, you respond with “actually really fun” because anything else would be too hard for them to understand and too unconventional to share. College is instead responding with a simple, “but this is college” after they question your motives or whether or not your actions were acceptable and permissible. Nothing here is unheard of and nothing here is too far fetched to be true. Despite all of that, however, every bad decision and ridiculous encounter is nearly background noise to all of the lessons learned and inexplicable feelings of invincibility. And that, my friends, is college.

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What are some of your more abnormal college experiences? What did you learn in college? Tell us below!

About Jen

JENNIFER_FINE_writer_bio.jpgJen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!


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