Peak: The People
The people you meet in college are an exciting, lively, carefree exaggeration of everyone else you will come to know in the world. Among those you can look forward to meeting:
- The eccentric personalities who provide you endless entertainment, amusement, and inspiration.
- The douche bags you’re sure you hate more than you’ll ever hate anyone ever again.
- The ambitious over-achievers who leave you feeling incredibly inconsequential about your resume and life choices.
- The party-animals who lead you into situations you will never again find yourself in- and help you survive them.
- If you’re lucky, which seems to be more often than not, your best friends.
It is safe to say the people at your school were drawn there for similar reasons that you were, which creates a unique, real-world defying atmosphere of youth and optimism and vivacity and self-discovery. No one would be racking up years of debt and hangovers if your dad’s golf buddies were the ones in your classes.
Pit: The People
The same people who make college the time-of-your-life experience that it is are the ones who can make you forget why you’re really there. I love my roommates, but when I have a paper due at 10am and they’re trying to convince me to come out for a few drinks and get up early to write it, I start to question the company I’m keeping. People go to college for a variety of reasons, and you may not always end up with people who are as ambitious or career driven as you are. There’s nothing wrong with that—as long as you are strong enough to set your own schedule and stick to it. Otherwise, you could find that those friends you loved so dearly are sending you “We miss you!” Snapchats from the party while you’re back home with mom and dad and a pile of community college coursework.
Peak: The Food
Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s called college campuses. Now, unless your one of the lucky schools like James Madison University where the campus food is infused with love and magic, campus food pretty much sucks. However, the off-campus options that are provided for the thousands of hungry, hung-over, low-budget college students create a town-sized food court. Chipotle and Qdoba prosper happily side-by-side, because who can’t eat burritos at least twice a week? All the foods your mom never wanted you to eat are now within walking distance—and mom is no where to be found! Not to mention that this is exactly the kind of food when you’re drunk and all the bars are closed, or when you wake up and your hangover feels like it could last all day. Fast food, fro-yo, and bagels galore! If you’re lucky and are near a city, like Ohio State or VCU, you get the added bonus of a large downtown dining district for when you decide to venture out and be ‘real people.’.
Pit: The Food
Holy heart attack! Did I mention all the fast food? And the drunk eating? And the hung-over eating? What a cruel joke it is that the same time your metabolism decides to kick you in the ass and take a holiday you are inundated with alcohol and foods to help you cope with said alcohol. The freshman 15 are no joke, but getting through your freshman year without gaining it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. By your senior year your tolerance is higher, you’re drinking more alcohol (calories), which may or may not require more drunk/hangover food. You might even have a job lined up, which gives you a false sense of financial security in which you can spend money on food all the time. Be warned, fellow students! Be warned.
Peak: Off-Campus Housing
In trying to explain her experience as a freshman, my sister told me that she and her friends would take shots in their dorm rooms and then wander around campus finding parties to go to. Excuse me? You mean you just roam around the neighborhood until someone lets you in?
Yes, Yes you do. This is a beautiful aspect of living on a college campus. Everyone remembers those vulnerable nights out as a freshman in search of alcohol, a place to drink it, and someone to drink it with. That nostalgia opens the doors of many apartments and houses to grateful freshman and other wanderers. This contributes to a plethora of outrageous stories, many new friends, and a sense of community on campus. Why are there so many people on the neighbor’s lawn? I don’t know, let’s go check it out!
Another awesome feature of college campuses is the safety. This is something my mother will forever fight me on, and I’m not naïve enough to think that crimes don’t occur on campus, but as a Columbus resident I can tell you that walking down the street on campus alone is a lot different than walking downtown alone. On a college campus, even in a city, there are always people EVERYWHERE. Someone is heading to or from class, the bars, the gym, the library, a party, or a late night sleepover. It really is nice to be able to walk around, even at night and alone, and feel a sense of safety and security. Even if it is false, at least I’m sparing myself the future heart attacks and high blood pressure by not worrying about it.
Pit: Off-Campus Housing
I understand that you are done with your finals, SAE fraternity annex house, but unfortunately I still have three. I would love to join your front porch karaoke session and drink away my stress, but while you’re sailing to paradise I’m still stranded on the island. I’m all for a good time, almost all of the time. So when I actually decide to buckle down and make sure I don’t destroy my future by bombing a final I don’t mess around. I also don’t mess around with sleep—you don’t want to see me cranky. In God’s name, WHY are you blaring music at 9am on a Saturday? It’s not even a gameday! Go home, SAE. Go home.
Due to the college lifestyle and bubble, most campuses tend to be pretty run down. The transient population prevents people from really taking care of their apartments or houses, and no landlord is going to fix up a place just to have it destroyed again the next year. There also seams to be an abnormal amount of trash on Saturday and Sunday mornings… but hey, if you live between 12th and Lane the friendly homeless men come to clean the cans up off your yard, so there’s that.
College is vastly different from “real life” in many ways but one: it’s what you make of it. Who cares about the pits? I’m on top of the mountain.