It has been almost a year (10 months, to be exact) since I earned my Bachelor’s degree. College was a wonderful whirlwind filled with mornings that started at 11 a.m. and sweatpants worn in public on a regular basis. If you are still in school, enjoy the casual and nocturnal pace of life while you can. There truly are some things that will make you think college years are the best of your life (McDonald’s at 2 a.m. and living with your best friends are only a couple of these).
Despite being a graduate for nearly a year, it wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me that I really am not a college student anymore. This epiphany was brought on, as so many epiphanies are, by the little things.
Starting with being a morning person.
Yup, that’s right. I, Alex Caulway, am a morning person (cue my roommates’ shock as they remember me snarling anytime before 10 a.m.). I wake up at 7:00 without an alarm and now find it impossible to sleep past 8:30. In addition, I prefer staying in and reading a book on Friday nights. It is amazing what a full-time job will do to you. I like to go to the gym in the morning on the weekends and recently my big night out was to Red Robin. Guys, it has happened. I am either incredibly lame for a 23-year-old or simply someone who has grown up.
Don’t get me wrong — I still like to go out and have fun. But not 4 a.m. fun anymore. Who even has the energy for that stuff? College is the only time it works. In college, my regular bedtime was midnight. Now I am in pajamas at 9 p.m. and asleep by 10:30.
The second thing that made me realize I am not a college student anymore is my pants. I wear real ones now, not jeans or yoga pants or leggings. Dress pants with buttons and pleats that were impossible to find in my size. That’s all I really have to say on the matter. No one outside of a college campus finds yoga pants socially acceptable in public. Adults wear pants.
But more important than my sleep schedule or my outfits is the fact that I don’t miss college anymore. Being by myself and without my peers was a real adjustment for a while. Who do you complain to about the line at the dining hall or the loud kid in the library? Who is there to listen when you rant about a B minus (side note – why did I ever think it was appropriate to rant about a B minus?)? Who is going to agree that the girl I’m in a group project with is being a totally unfair and making me do all the work? More importantly, who is going to understand what I am going through?
Part of me will always miss having them and that lifestyle. But it wasn’t something that could work forever.
After school, I didn’t stop asking questions that I needed someone to understand. I just started asking different ones. My life no longer revolves around grades and too much buffalo sauce on my chicken quesadilla. That is not to say that those things were not valid issues in my mind at one point. But they aren’t anymore. I have different, more personalized issues to focus on. Like what I want to be when I grow up. I’m grown up now. Now is when I no longer fall into a category of a student or a kid or an intern. My category is twenty-something, and the beauty of that is no one has been able to define what it is yet.
That’s because twenty-something is something you , not your friends or your school, define.
So I’m not a college student anymore.
I’m not an anything — I’m just who I am.