Last spring, after nine long years, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree; this was an enormous milestone, including the fact that last fall marked the first time in 23 years that I would not be going to school. That’s most of my life at this point.
I’ve had a year of surreal moments as it sunk in that I was no longer going to school. I’ll admit that depression has set in heavy at times over the past year because I didn’t have the goal and focus of school. It threw me off a bit, even if I was thrilled to have finally finished and have the time and energy to use for other things (like writing!).
I’ve also noticed that while there are plenty of things that I don’t miss about being in college (grade school was absolute hell and I will never miss it, but we won’t go there, this post kind of sums it up), there were also things that I’ve missed dearly.
After a year, it’s still a little surreal to not be in school, and since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I decided to remind myself of the things I do and don’t miss about being in college.
Things I Don’t Miss:
- Signing up for classes– I absolutely do not miss the stress of waiting for registration time. When you have certain classes you need to get into (along with plenty of other students), as well as health issues that affect the times you need, it was definitely stress-inducing for me.
- Parking– Parking was an absolute nightmare, especially when you add in a disability, rude people, and construction at the school, including a parking lot being taken over for it. I cannot count the number of times I worried about not finding a parking spot close enough to the building I needed to be in. Far too many people took it upon themselves to park illegally in handicap spots without decals, which certainly did not help.
- Worrying about getting to class- This was a huge issue when I would have classes back to back that were located on opposite ends of the campus. There were usually 10-15 minutes between class times, but when you include parking worry (I had to drive from one building to the other some semesters), as well as being an early-punctual individual, it made for some incredibly stressful times throughout the semester.
- Having to write papers- My professors would probably be surprised and horrified to learn how much I procrastinated writing my papers. Often I wrote them a couple of days before they were due, if not the night before. It was just how my brain worked. Even when I was interested in the topic, it was often an enormous feat to sit myself down and focus…it’s a major issue with my own writing too sometimes but anyway. I hated the possibility of not doing as well on the current paper I was writing as on a previous one; I know, incredibly silly, but it added to my distaste and stress of having to write papers for a grade.
- Group projects- It’s hard to describe just how much I loathed group projects…it’s not that I cannot work with a group, I absolutely can, but it has to be a group of people that are willing to put as much work and effort into it as I was in order to get the grade I desired. The number of times group members didn’t do their part, or didn’t communicate well, or otherwise did not pull their weight…..let’s just say that I’m ecstatic that I don’t have to worry about group projects ever again unless it’s my own choice, and then I can kick myself.
- Rising tuition costs and some ridiculous fees- Have to throw it out there, I do not miss having to worry about tuition and books. It was to a point where I had to figure the cost of taking less classes for more semesters against taking more classes in one semester to cut down on having to pay the fees over again per semester.
Things I Do Miss:
- Passionate and knowledgeable professors-The professor makes or breaks a class. Besides a professor that is understanding and willing to help students when possible, the ones that were particularly knowledgeable about their subjects were the best. In addition, one of the best parts of certain knowledgeable professors was their passion and desire to impart all they could on ready and open minds. I sincerely miss these professors. They were understanding, but challenging, and wanted everyone to participate and succeed.
- Discussions– There isn’t anything like a good discussion with different perspectives and ideas. Discussing reading material or some part of a lecture often became tangents of conversations in many of my classes, and I loved every minute of it. Intelligent and thoughtful conversation about new things, allowing us to apply new ideas and materials we’d learned in class….yes, I very much miss the discussions.
- Having to write some of the papers- Though I may not have enjoyed the actual process, I have to say that I miss being given some of the assignments to write about. When papers were on topics that I was interested in and involved applying techniques or things learned in the material or in class was wonderful. I loved utilizing my knowledge and being able to apply the concepts I had accumulated, thus further embedding all that I’d learned. May be silly to some, but I definitely miss it sometimes.
- Interesting Classes-I would have loved to spend more time just taking random classes with fantastic professors because there were a lot of interesting classes available, including some of the ones I was able to take. I could probably happily spend my life reading and discussing literature and psychology, so it’s hardly a surprise to those who really know me. I love to learn and I enjoy being around others that do as well and the discussion that come from such minds.
No matter how much time passes, I have a feeling I will continue to feel the same way. Most of my life has been in school, only truly finding the joy in it in the last few years, a little ironically. My school journey was incredibly difficult for a number of reasons, some easily enough explained here , but I still learned so much, on and off campus.
Part of me thinks of going back some day, but we will see. For now though, all the things I don’t miss, while unpleasant, were (mostly) worth dealing with to experience the things I do miss.
What about you? Anything you miss from your college experience?