The upside of being out of college

A few nights ago, my mom expressed some concern about me. Though 2012 got off to an awesome start with Lauren and Crystal, January just isn’t doing it for me yet. Considering the research behind January blues, this shouldn’t surprise me, but there may be more to it than simply the time of year. My mom picked up on my discontent during one of our phone conversations and said, “You know, you were so happy and relaxed back in college, but I’m not getting the same vibe from you right now.”

There are many reasons for that. In college, I could wear Rainbow flip-flops and Pitaya sundresses every day. The year-round sunshine enabled me to sip Which Wich milkshakes with Kendra and read on the grassy hill any time I desired. Anna and I could write our newspaper columns at Espresso Art, where we’d chat with the nice coffee shop owners and some of the regular attendees.

Daily Wildcatters in Tucson!
Halloween with Lola
Wilma Wildcat
Laughing as Dan prepares to dance to Ke$ha
Daily Wildcat bunch. Jazmine and Luke, never forget Spring 2010!
Last night of senior year!

I don’t have the luxury of being a gluttonous slob anymore, and I miss it. Almost as much as I miss sitting in the sun all day.

That reminds me: My sunshine dreams seem to have returned. I wrote about them extensively last year. When the sun stopped peaking through the sky last winter, I had reoccurring dreams about warmth, sun, light, and heat. I had one of those dreams last night, so I guess it was only fitting to wake up to a pile of snow outside. The snowstorm will continue until late afternoon, and after it settles down, I’m going out with some friends.

I knew about the upcoming snowstorm last night after work. Rather than head home, I made my way down to NYU territory and picked up a burrito at Chipotle. I thought about taking it back to the apartment, but decided to just stay put and enjoy my food while it still remained hot. Because the place was packed, I sat across from two female NYU students at the bar stool area. Though I cracked open my book to read while having dinner, I ended up listening in on the conversation of these two college girls, who appeared to be catching up after a long winter break away from each other. I remember having reunion Chipotle gatherings with Dy, Anna, and Kendra on University Boulevard, only there, we could sit outside underneath a patio umbrella and would inevitably see someone we knew walking by. Tucson was a college town, not New York City, so I’m glad I didn’t come here immediately after high school.

“I saw Liam over break,” the brown-haired girl said.

“Wow, how was that?” asked the blond. “You guys live close to each other, don’t you?”

“Yeah, he stayed the night at the beginning of break, but the was the last I heard from him, so on New Years Eve, I text messaged him ‘Happy New Year!’ He waited until noon the next day to write back, ‘Thanks.’ Thanks?! That’s all I get after four months of sleeping with someone?! So I told him that I seem to be more invested in what we have than he does and that I couldn’t hook up with him anymore.”

“Wow,” replied the blond. “I’m proud of you.”

“Yeah, it had to be done. I deleted his number from my phone too.”

“Well, I’m really proud of you.”

As the brunette spoke of this Liam character, my entire face became bright red. At first, I attributed my change in color to the weather. I’d been walking around in 20 degrees for a half hour and still needed to thaw out, but there was more to it than being cold. I didn’t know this girl, but I was angry for her. I was upset because I went through the same nonsense more than once back in school. Post-graduate guys aren’t exactly princes, but I’ll venture to say that college guys are one of the worst breeds of human to walk this earth. I forgot how infuriating they could be until this poor girl opened her mouth.

Then the other one spoke and added fuel to my fire. The blond’s story was arguably worse:

“I had a long chat with Dylan the other day. I said that we’ve been fooling around for a year and that we need to decide what we are. He said that he would be happy to date me as long as we kept it a secret from his friends. They can’t know about us because he’s embarrassed about me.”

Yup, I know that story too. My face was definitely flaming by that point, but thankfully my brother called moments later to chat, so I had something else to focus on. I may not have been part of these discussions, but they were all too familiar to me. Even though the girls soon transitioned into academic course discussion — which streets their classes would be held, what they’d be taking this semester — I could tell that they were fixated on the men who’d let them down. It’s easy to fall into this trap in college, and that’s why I’m actually kind of relieved to be out of that environment. There are some definite cads in the real world, but they’re not nearly as heartless and irresponsible as undergrad men, who are all too aware that they have four years to do anything they please and not be accountable for any of their actions.

In some ways, I did whatever I wanted back then too. Senior year, I went out five nights a week. I had late night chats with Erik and Dan at Matt’s house. I made a habit of skipping class (on a thirsty Thursdays night out at the bar, my friend Jon convinced me to stay out late because it wouldn’t “hurt me economically” to miss my 8 a.m. math course the following day. He’s now a law student at UVA). I ate blueberry scones every day and milkshakes several times a week. I fell asleep on the grassy hill every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Freshman year, I basically lived in Carolyn’s dorm room, and when we moved into the same apartment senior year, we were rarely apart.

The grassy hill at UofA!
UofA

As much as I miss the freedom of school and the sunshine of Tucson, I don’t miss being an emotional wreck over unworthy suitors. I also know that I, too treated college as a time for me, me, me, so I can’t totally scold a bunch of 21-year-old men for trying to do the same. The only difference was that I wasn’t hurting anyone in my fun, and these guys continuously enjoy themselves at the expense of young women, as made clear at last night’s Chipotle visit.

With that, I am going to leave my apartment for the first time today, trudge through the snow, and pick up a cup of coffee. My caffeine migraine has already kicked in, and my rants only exacerbate headaches, so it’s time to experience true snowfall for the first time in my life. Expect pictures soon.

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