I’ve decided that it’s okay to miss college.
It’s okay to look out your window at a perfect, sunny day and wish that you could skip class and drink pre-mixed margarita out of a water bottle. It’s okay to daydream about a time when waking up for a Biology class at noon was really really hard. I’d even venture to say that it’s okay if you miss the cafeteria where you could get a heart-stopping taco salad at two o’clock when you finally rolled out of bed.
It’s okay to miss your friends. I bet they miss you, too.
It’s okay to remember how your paychecks went directly into the cash register at the liquor store down the street. It’s okay that this time last year, your extracurricular activities had gone from newspaper, a capella, and tutoring to happy hour, happy hour, and happy hour. It’s okay that you haven’t done karaoke in a while; nothing could ever top that time we sang Eminem and the whole bar sang along.
It’s okay to miss buying outfits for themed parties, and to miss the powdery smells of getting ready with your friends. It’s okay to choke back a sob as you unsubscribe from the Pizza Kingdom newsletter, and try to remember what it was like to eat junk food at three in the morning. It’s okay to go through your phone and wonder how the supporting characters — the guy you only talked to in Philosophy, the girl your friend dated for half a second, that hilarious dude always inviting you to house parties — are doing: are they happy? Are they different?
I think it’s okay to acknowledge how much time you wasted: on sleeping in, on boys who would never care about you, and on worrying about “the real world,” which now you realize is just like your old world, except now there are bills and deadlines and traffic. And your friends are far away. But the cool thing is that they are figuring this shiv out, too, so you have that special connection, just like you always will. Once you’ve seen someone barf in public, your friendship is pretty much unbreakable.
So, it’s okay to wish that you still had that group of people who never thought twice about spooning. It’s okay to go through Facebook pictures and realize suddenly that all of your college friends are actually really good-looking. (Why didn’t we all just create a commune and have each others gorgeous babies? Oh yeah, because we’ve all seen each other barf in public and that kind of changes things.) And you know what? It’s okay to look at those Facebook pictures a lot. And maybe have them a little memorized.
It’s okay that, after nineteen years of school, the smell of spring still makes you feel like you should be studying for exams.
It’s okay to wish that you could still take painting class. And to wonder why you are so tired, and “why is it that now every time I even have a glass of wine I wake up hung-over?” It’s okay to email your favorite teachers to let them know you are still alive. I bet they’d like that.
It’s okay to feel like this year has gone by really quickly, and that you haven’t accomplished what you thought you wanted. It’s okay to feel like you’ve changed. It’s okay to feel like you are exactly the same person, only trapped in an alternate universe where people wear khaki un-ironically and it’s not really okay to get drunk and kiss that guy from your Psychology class. It’s okay to think about reading Faulkner and getting to History late and rolling your eyes at yet another cheesy student event, and not be completely sure whether or not you miss it.
Because you’ve done it, you’ve moved on, and that is, well — for lack of a better word — okay.