4 years and 8 days ago, i left home for college. college! such a beautiful sounding word associated with an entirely new set of compounding problems for the average 18-year-old: debauchery? check. struggling to keep up with classes? check. how the hell do you work the washing machine? check. it is the chance of a lifetime to do everything and anything the heart desires because mummy is no longer watching like an angry furrow-browed hawk. worst case scenario, she will simply – and irritatingly – ring you 5 times a day to check on your bowel movements. it is the opportunity to get out and do whatever on top of trying not to fail because it is a fact that college is meant to be much more than just a regular academic education. even the New York Times says so in an aptly named article: “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump your Boyfriend”
4 years ago, i took the notion of “there is more to life beyond the classroom” very, very seriously – barring times when homework would get me down. i believe it was early for me to sleep at 3AM. “what have you become?!”, people would remark with a slight note of urgency in their tones. i didn’t care who i had become; there was life to be lived, things to be done, people to see, no sleep to be had! the destruction of one’s principles and everything i had ever learned previously did not alarm me, to say the least.
2 years ago, i decided that the La Lohan way of conducting myself was completely inappropriate and totally bad for health. third year, it seemed, was one of those years to grow up, to focus on finding your calling. people had also ultimately become more secure in who they were for better or for worse. as a result, there was less room for social missteps in already established groups of friends that was previously allowed due to the folly of youth. in my third year, i found a new person i could rely on, the same person i (very) implicitly mentioned in a previous post about celery. in true irritating Girl-Boy fashion, this created a little bubble that could not be easily popped. i slowly uncovered my homebody roots once more, and it was relieving.
but then before all this happened in my third year, i decided that i would apply to go abroad to enjoy the californian air. i’d always known i wanted go abroad in my final year when the authorities told us as first years. and why the hell not. london had begun to bore me with her dreary rain spells and horrible food. as fate would have it, 1 year and 17 days ago, i left home again for college the other side of the world: san diego. i believe i was more excited to go to california than i ever was as a fresh-faced 18-year-old going to england. i had waited so long to sample the american life, to see for myself if what the internet says is true about the united states. my experience in america did not fail me. in a few short weeks, i had met my friends (who were also my roommates) whom i would see every single day for the rest of the year, whom i would travel to Vegas and Disneyland with, whom i would talk mercilessly and incessantly about food with while watching TLC. my old roommates in england were treated the same way, and i would email them to tell them about my new life. i acknowledged how lucky i was to have friends in every country i had ever lived in. for some reason, the yearning to retire as as a TV-watching, Internet-surfing, food-making 21-year-old was so great that Homebody v 2.0 had returned in the 4th year. party? “i’m going to suffocate with all those people in there” going out past 3AM? “who stays up past 3AM anymore!” only with some persistence from my very, very persistent roommate would i go out – in underwear and half a bottle of wine, i did. once. just for fun.
so. at the end of 4 years, what have i learnt? i certainly don’t know much about bioengineering. if anything, i have developed a bit of a toxic grudge against my alma mater, but that’s a different story for a different day. if anything, i know a bit more about how to dress and conduct myself less awkwardly during social encounters (although that is still sort of doubtful). if anything, i know i can’t work 9-5 everyday for the rest of my life; i might just go insane. if anything, i would like to know more about what college hasn’t taught me academically, and that i would really, really like to attend graduate school and spend the rest of my twenties holed up as a neurotic medical student because i want to spend the rest of my life trying to do something non-destructive for the few good people left in this world.
if you’re going to college this term, i bid you good luck. seriously – college is good fun, but thank goodness it’s over.
p.s. my mother never rang me up 5 times a day to check on my bowel movements. she only called once a week for five minutes.