One of the charming, or not-so-charming effects of Facebook is that you’re inevitably faced with how much “fun” all of your younger college friends are perpetually having. It’s not reality because we all know they’re just a bunch of pictures and when they’re not doing something crazy, as depicted by those photo albums, they’re cramming for those weekly mid-terms. Either that, or they’re busy trying to figure out their privacy settings as they go about applying for those sought after internships and jobs. I know this cause I was a college student at one time.
I’m glad that college is over.
There were aspects of college that I loved, and a huge part of it had to do with the numerous diverse amounts of ideas, thoughts and conversations all coalesced onto one campus. I had a love affair with the ivory tower that ended in disillusionment during sophomore year, and while college was a time to “figure myself out,” what nobody told me was that college was also a time to make mistakes.
In reality, I never made enough mistakes in college. I didn’t fail enough. I think that was precisely what made post-college a little more daunting, because now my actions will have harder consequences. Don’t get me wrong, there are always going to be consequences to your actions. I’m certainly not encouraging the kinds of mistakes that entail thousands of dollars in debt that comes from taking numerous college loans, nor the devastatingly dumb ones that endanger another person’s life (although you can definitely learn from those too!). I’m referring to the kind of mistakes that I’d inevitably make had I taken more chances, the ones that were only avoidable through standing off to the side observing instead of participating. There’s a lot to be said for avoiding pot-holes, and I’m all for wisdom, but I also developed a self-righteousness that came with a lot of pride for not making some of those mistakes because “I knew better.” Yeah right.
At some point, you question the narrative that you functioned under as a system that had protected you against some of the pain that you sought to avoid, and you ask yourself why, because pain was inevitable to begin with. The problem wasn’t pain, it was my reaction to it.
In college, I was afraid that my life would stagnate once I entered into the “real world,” but I think what happens in this world is that your beliefs are challenged in more personal ways.
If people were afraid of losing their faith, innocence and identity in a college setting that intellectually challenged their theology/system of belief/identity, the real world challenges it on a personal scale. It’s easy to argue a position, but in the real world, theory is just that, theory. I can’t say that I’m running on quite the same scripts and ideas I ran on in college, nor can I say I’m the same person anymore, but I’d like to think that I’m a little more real now.
Note: I owe credit on the first paragraph of this post to my friend Ange, who was the one who pointed out this “fun life!” image that FB perpetuates even though it’s not the complete picture.