The Collegiate Conundrum

Graduation season is now in full swing. The second those horribly fitted square caps go flying in the air all across the nation a new shipment of college students will walk into the magical world of university life. With this changing of the educational guard comes another group of learners that seldom get talked about during this time of pomp and circumstance and uncomfortable side hugs. Those forgotten individuals are the current college students returning to a place they once knew as home for the summer.

Ever felt homesick while sitting in your own living room? Home is where the heart is right? That’s what everyone always tells you when you are growing up. Another fun fact big people throw at you right around the age you have just mastered your cursive letters is that nothing hurts worse than a broken heart. So, what I have realized is that we American 20 Somethings have to face the truth and myths that go along with those fun facts we have heard since naptime was a staple of our school day. It’s the odd feeling of letting go of what you held so close to your heart for your entire youth along with accepting the fact that things, people and places all change.

For most of you this is the first real-life makeover I hope you have had to face and for the others this might actually come easier to you. Your friends who you rolled around in diapers and traded Pokémon cards with all change, it’s a fact. Some for better, some for worse, some to keep in contact with and others to never see them again. It’s an odd occurrence that you can share a bond with someone for so long yet one day, without you knowing it, it’s the last time you will ever speak with or see that soul.

Social media provides a slight loophole to this lost connection; however, does scrolling through profile pictures, sending them a few snap chats or throwing them a like on Instagram every once in a while to avoid studying really still classify you as friends? We can each say, “This won’t happen to me and my friends. We are a family and grew up together!”. That might just be the point of all this. You grew up with them and now once you get this feeling of not knowing where home really is or even thinking you have two homes and that odd shade of a nostalgic blue is cast across all those memories you have in your home town of good times, friends and feelings it means you’ve grown up.

Once this happens it hits you: you aren’t growing up any more. You are a grown up, a full-fledged adult. You are able to sign your own checks and vote for the next leader of the free world, but the one thing you will never be able to do is go back in time. You now have responsibilities and probably lots of them, whether it is grades or work, you now are creating a future that’s closer than ever before. This doesn’t mean you can’t still relish in those sweet memories while still making many more.

There is something magical about a hallway covered with horribly colored lockers, cafeteria lunches serving you what some would call food and Friday night football games with friends. It’s a piece of nostalgia that will never go away, but the first time you realize your heart is split between two homes with a tad bit of varsity blues you will now know that you have found yourself in the collegiate conundrum. With an unorthodox broken heart and time that seems to stand still while your mind sits in the street where you used to play; you catch yourself thinking of all the great times you had. It’s one more of life’s Pandora’s box of fun facts that never seem to stop.

There are so many different incredible memories waiting to be made so get out and go make them. I don’t write this to bring you down or make you say “I’m never growing up, I am going to be like Peter Pan and stay a kid forever!” (Even though I have been known to say this quite a few times) I say this to have you make each moment really count that while you have it. Whether you are young or old, whether you were a cool kid or a nerd, whether you dropped out or walked out as valedictorian whatever you do from here on out make it count and make it a memory.

You will always wonder if anything will ever come close to the time you had as an adolescent accident waiting to happen but it doesn’t matter. Enjoy the present because it’s a gift and the past because it’s a photo album of all the old gifts life has blessed you with.

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