They told me it’d all be different once I left college, that it was going to be either one of the other: I’d be either swimming in misery hoping to go back, or so blessed with my life that I wouldn’t be able to recall the long nights crawling through endless notes. (Notes which may or may not have been burned as a ritualistic exit.) They seemed to pretend that something would change, like flipping a switch when exiting the room and this miraculous process would be handed to us like a gift horse that we weren’t supposed to look in the mouth.
They didn’t tell me that there’d be a third option: that everything would still be the same after a year of navigating the “real world” alone. It’s like high school became college that became this day-to-day existence, plus some cats that now decide that my keyboard is the perfect spot to nap (with or without the presence of my fingers). I still find myself looking through my drawers at the end of a work day, wondering where I stashed the last packet of ramen. I’m still completely unsure of what to do with dollar bills. I still debate how much sleep I can sacrifice in the name of trying to beat the newest game of the month.
It might not be labelled college, but it certainly hasn’t changed to the point where I’d know one from the other at a single glance. If you put a schedule of classes on my door, I’d be inclined to believe you in the grogginess of the morning (while panicking that the nightmare of missing an exam from the night prior might not just be a nightmare). In retrospect, it’d almost be nice to be back on the $14 per meal money sink, but only because no one realizes it’s $14 until they work out the math. Now, as a result of a few too many not-so-cheap meal plan cereals, there are student loans, somewhat resembling starved sharks smelling blood after all the fish managed to swim away.
The world, ultimately, has become a painting of the mundane, where the greatest adventures are in the mind of the 5-year-old we all once were. Although life isn’t college anymore, a fundamental truth hasn’t changed: You’re no Cinderella, this isn’t a fairy tale and if you lose your shoes at midnight, you’re drunk so you should probably just go home.