Breaking Up with College

When I graduated from high school, my mom told me,

“Wait until you finish college. You’re going to bawl your eyes out when you have to say bye to your friends and enter the real world.”

Fast forward four years and I came to the upsetting conclusion that she was, indeed, correct. Parting ways from my college town, and all of the friends I’d made over the years, sucked. However, I’ve finally made peace with it.

Weaning myself off of the highs of college wasn’t exactly easy. Since graduating, I’ve been slapped numerous times with a little hand called “reality” — otherwise known as adulthood. Not long after graduating, it became quite clear that my peers were making big moves with their lives; my best friends moved to Palm Springs and New York City, while other good friends settled in the Bay Area, San Diego, or other random places, like Nashville. I, too, made a big move not long after graduating, and traveled around Asia for about a year. Even so, it wasn’t until after my stint in Asia that I really came to notice how different post-college life really is.


For one thing, everything becomes a lot less social. I mean everything. My closest friends in college were my housemates, whom I also worked with. My next-door neighbors were really good friends, and so were the guys across the street. Oh, and my boyfriend lived in the apartment building next to me. Convenience level alone, I was ranking in the B+ to A categories. There was literally someone I could talk to everywhere I turned.

As for work in college, I had a pretty sweet setup, too. I worked at a facility on campus where 95% of the people who came through the doors were students, like myself. I considered my coworkers my friends. I often saw everyone outside of work, and we’d get together for beer pong tournaments or pitcher paydays. Everyone had the same general story; we were all college students figuring our lives out and having fun along the way.

And now? Despite the fact that I work for a company made up of other relatively young people, the dynamics have completely changed. No one is in college and lots of people are married. In fact, there are only two unmarried employees in the entire company, and I’m one of them. Instead of talking about how so-and-so got belligerently drunk over the weekend and ended up being chased down the beach by several cops (true story), the topics of conversation are now about children, deadlines, and clients. The stark contrast between my college work-life compared to my current one is comical. I mean, it’s cool. I get it. It’s a job, not a Saturday night rager, but the differences are undeniable.

As far as partiers go, I’d say I was on the lower end of the spectrum in college. I went out a night or two a week on most weekends, but occasionally I’d stay in with my boyfriend and friends, too. Let’s just say I wasn’t parading around campus half drunk, nor was I the person at work who collected money for the Friday night kegs. I did go to a “party school” (which, mind you, sounds a lot less impressive after you’ve graduated), but after integrating back into the real world, its dawned on me how many less these people — including myself, now — party.

But despite the differences between college life and now, I can honestly say that I don’t like my post-college life any less. In fact, I can’t — and shouldn’t — compare the two. They’re apples and oranges. If I’ve learned anything since graduating, it’s that I needed to experience college life as I did. Only in college was I able to learn what I really wanted out of life: to have great friendships, to make time for fun, and to have a job that I love. Despite the fact that so much has changed, in everything that I do, I will always look for ways to make these things a reality. So, I tip my hat to you, college. You were like a bad break up, fun while it lasted, hard to let go of, but full of lifelong lessons. Well played.

By Tiffany Schoolfield

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  • Reply July 31, 2013

    Ali Vitali

    Great, now I’m nostalgic! Liked the post a lot — definitely feel the same.

  • Reply July 31, 2013

    Tiffany Schoolfield

    Haha, sorry! You just can’t help but reminisce every once in awhile! :)