I Miss School, Already

BrockWhen I graduated from University in June, I wore a shirt and tie, received a diploma on stage in front of hundreds of blurry faces, and took pictures with family and friends. I knew what the day meant. I knew what it represented. I knew it was the final page of a novel much longer than a J.K. Rowling classic. I also knew that, come September, I would not be returning.

Well, it’s September. And as I sit here typing at 2AM, I am overcome with sadness. School officially starts in six hours and for the first time in my life, I won’t be anywhere near a classroom. I knew I would miss it, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Today, it hit me like a brick to the forehead.

Knowing that most of my friends are back at school certainly doesn’t help. I’m currently stuck between wanting to know everything that is going on, and not wanting to hear a single word from anyone.

I don’t know if everyone feels this way when they graduate. I would imagine that some people jump right into a full-time job and never look back. I wish I could do that, but I am not wired that way. Too many rear-view mirrors in my head.

When everyone moved back to school a few days ago, I felt odd. I still feel odd. I feel like Kevin in the Home Alone movies. I feel like I forgot to move back. I feel like I’m late, very late. I feel like I lost my membership card to an exclusive club and got denied entry at the door.

I think we are all familiar with the lyric: “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” This is true.

Well, the following verse reads: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I feel like my parking pass has expired.

I miss my friends.

I miss waking up in residence, glancing over at my clock with one eye partially open, and then making the split-second decision of waking up or going back to sleep for another fifteen minutes.

I miss walking around campus.

I miss timing my trip to the cafeteria for exactly 11:40AM – when all the food is out and I have a twenty minute head start on everyone coming from class at noon.

I miss staring down the individual in the cafeteria who changes the channel on the TV from TSN to CNN.

I miss texting my friends and making plans to meet somewhere.

I miss having to apologize for being a few minutes late.

I miss going for walks on campus at night.

I miss taking the bus for the first time of the year and forgetting which way the card swipes.

I miss sitting in the library by myself and studying until I am told to leave.

I miss arriving to exams with 30 minutes of sleep and leaving with a 90%.

I miss hearing people complain about their marks.

I miss having people tell me about their problems.

I miss late-night meals.

I miss sitting at a table cracking jokes with friends.

I miss going to class and sitting in my unassigned, assigned seat.

I miss going to class and seeing someone sitting in my seat – the one I’ve been in for the entire semester.

I miss intramurals. Oh man, do I miss intramurals.

I miss giving pre-game speeches that never work.

I miss playing video games with my roommate.

I miss being woken up from naps because someone is banging on my door, as if a fire is about to set me ablaze.

I miss hearing people call penne, “tubes”, because they aren’t Italian.

I miss eating pasta with sausage/shrimp and alfredo sauce for dinner.

I miss falling asleep at 7PM because the aforementioned pasta knocked me out.

I miss going to my friends’ houses and being served food.

I miss streaming sports on my laptop.

I miss pulling all-nighters to finish assignments.

I miss the view that greets me outside my window at 6AM after an all-nighter. (See above).

I miss calculating how many hours of sleep I will get right before I fall asleep.

I miss walking across the street to Tim Hortons and McDonald’s.

I miss the deadly wind on campus that can knock your socks off, whether you’re wearing shoes or not.

I miss following a routine.

I miss waking up every day and not knowing exactly what will happen that day.

I miss navigating my way through crowded hallways.

I miss leaving for a class on the other side of campus, 8 minutes before it starts, and arriving with my calves writhing in pain.

I miss it. All of it. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I wish I could go back. I can’t. I wish I can relive every single moment a hundred times over. I can’t. I wish I were there. I’m not. I’m far away from it all, observing as an outsider. Observing as a member of society with a University degree. As a person unsure of what the future holds. As a person unwilling to forget about the last four years because of how great they were.

I didn’t write this entry so people can feel sorry for me. Nor did I write it so people can tell me to look forward to the future. I will be fine. I wrote it because I thought it was important to get this off my chest. I wrote it for the people in my position who might feel the same way – and if you don’t, I hope to be where you are one day, soon. I wrote it for the people currently in school, so they can cherish every single second of the experience.

I know I have to move on and I will. But for today, I can’t do that. The feeling of being somewhere, besides school, during the first week of September, needs getting use to.

Graduating was great. It is an achievement of which I am very proud. But to me, school was always more than a diploma. There is no piece of paper in this world that can replace the experience or the memories that were made outside of the classroom. It is the making of those memories that I will miss the most.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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253 Responses to I Miss School, Already

  1. Caro says:

    Awesome. I felt compelled to post on my fb page for all the kids in my daughter’s graduating class. They should take note and live each minute to the fullest. Well done!

    Like

  2. Dimitri Lyon says:

    College has been the best part of my life this far. Fortunately for me, after graduating I received an opportunity to work with the admissions office on campus. I am now engaged in helping others realize their dreams and engage in the college experience.

    Like

  3. I miss school too 😦

    Like

  4. shauna says:

    It’s been over 30 years since I finished my college degree. I’ve moved on, worked full time, and now have 2 daughters: one is a junior in college who will probably relate VERY much to this piece, and the other is a junior in high school who’s not really sure where she wants to attend college, or if she does. All that said, I can still relate to what you are saying here. You get it. So many people don’t. There will be other memories, other friendships, but it’s not quite the same. Thanks for posting.

    Like

  5. Great article, I’m sure many of us can relate!

    Like

  6. This is awesome. I just started my second year of college, and I have been groaning every morning. Your post was a wake up call!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      This comment made me happy. I’m glad my post had an effect on a current college student who still have many years left to enjoy the experience. Make the most of it and don’t dread the workload or stress. Embrace it! Thanks for commenting!

      Like

    • Paul says:

      Hey, I was just reading through some old posts and came across your comment on here again. I read your latest post where you’re contemplating leaving school to move to Denver? I couldn’t think of any advice, but saw your comment here and just wanted you to see it again and how you felt back in September. Maybe it’ll bring back the thoughts you had back when you first read this post and help you with your decision. If not, I tried! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Lila says:

    Aw, you already got me reminiscing about my time before graduating from the first paragraphs and that was enough, but then you said “Tim Horton’s” and that sealed it! You’re Canadian too I wasn’t expecting that =)

    I also liked: “I miss going to class and sitting in my unassigned, assigned seat.”

    By the way, yeah, you’ll get all over this completely in, oh, about four years when the next round of students graduate and you go “What? It’s already been four years? But I *just* graduated!”
    …Very humbling.

    Thanks for the post. You’re not the only one, no you are not.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Lila!
      Congratulations, you’re the first one to mention the Tim Horton’s line! I was waiting for a fellow Canadian to say something about it. Their employees probably thought I was nuts some nights going in there at midnight and asking for six donuts = all-nighter fuel. Four years goes by quickly. I still remember my first move in day down to the very last second. Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you enjoyed my post!

      Like

      • Lila says:

        Canadians unite =) Haha same here, 12am visits! Tim’s was practically home away form home. And let me tell you they really do have the best donuts, hands down, I’m not kidding. I’ve had quality-donut deprivation being out of the country.

        Like

      • Paul says:

        Haha, oh I believe you! I never felt guilty chowing down on half a dozen donuts in the middle of the night because they were that good…and I had to stay awake somehow. Eating was a good distraction.

        Like

  8. gkm2011 says:

    I graduated over ten years ago now and I still miss the newness of this time of year – new notebooks, new classes – the possibility of more. Even though you may have graduated, those possibilities still exist, they just aren’t so obvious!

    Like

  9. Pingback: My “Freshly Pressed” Acceptance Speech | The Captain's Speech

  10. Reblogged this on lishashaji840 and commented:
    incredible feelings

    Like

  11. Harsha MP says:

    Miss my school & college days!!

    Like

  12. Pingback: Fall Things I’m Looking Forward To | The Streetlight Reader

  13. Anonymous says:

    seriously this note is made for people like me who jst finished high school some months ago. It is remembering me of high school. High school was really fun and enjoyable. Missing my friends so bad.This is the best note i ever read in this facebook, keep it up.

    Like

  14. The road of knowledge is never ending. Just because you are no longer in college doesn’t mean you are missing out.
    In fact, now you can focus on areas that are of more interest to you. The reading that you now do can be on your own terms. Where you to choose to get that education is entirely up to go.
    You can move forward while looking in the rear view mirror!

    Like

  15. I just graduated from college in May as well! While I definitely miss the social part of life that came with school, I’m glad I’m not there! I can relate. I miss going to back to school shopping. I bought some notebooks and pencils the other day just because! I enjoyed your post

    Like

  16. Jumping Puddles says:

    I loved your post! I am an older student in London and I am from the USA. I LOVE school, I cannot imagine my life without it!! I am already looking at the calendar for next June with a sad heart. I want it to last forever. I simply can’t understand why some people just don’t get it…..it’s the best experience ever! Hope your life is going well. You know you can always help out, volunteer on many campuses!

    Like

  17. Aisha Id says:

    Reading your post, I’m glad to still have 3.5 years of university πŸ™‚

    Wonderfully written!

    Like

  18. Robyn Detoro says:

    you captured just about everything i feel right now. i’m dreading leaving my beloved campus and university life behind soon. i feel like first year was yesterday, and here i am thinking about grad school and where i’ll be living in may. thank you for sharing this – i want to appreciate every single day of my last year as an undergrad. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Robyn,
      I’m glad you enjoyed my post! Yeah, it feels like yesterday I was just moving to Brock. It went really fast. Good luck in your final year and enjoy it!

      Like

  19. I miss all the things you mentioned in your post! I miss my walks to campus-I used to walk to campus even during the Winter because I couldn’t be bothered to wait for the bus. Sometimes I’d get to school before the bus as well :). I loved what you said about Tim Hortons. I used to have 8.30 classes and I’d get to school really early and one semester the staff knew what I would order before I could open my mouth and say it lol. I don’t think I ever believed my dad when he said “Your university years are some of the best years of your life” until I actually left it and saw people being excited about going back to school. Or and I miss all nighters as well, in a twisted way. I think they were good for me because sleep and pizza or some kind of sweet thing from one of the awesome bakeries in Guelph or David’s Tea would be my reward. I also tended to write better papers when I pulled all nighters, as crazy as that sounds. Thank You for writing this post! It was really great πŸ™‚ Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed and good luck with your future endeavours!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment!
      Yes! I completely understand what you mean about all nighters. I also did my best work in the middle of the night when there was no one around to distract me. I always had the hardest time trying to write essays in the middle of the day, it just wouldn’t happen. Did you go to University of Guelph? I was just down (or up) the street at Brock. Thanks for the kind words and good luck to you as well!

      Like

  20. Emilie Bee says:

    You never know how wonderful it all is until it’s over and you can’t go back. I feel like I’ve been mourning the loss of my college days and you’ve perfectly captured that feeling. Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    Like

  21. I miss school too. I feel the exact same way. Like it’s a big party that I wasn’t invited too. My sorority sisters had recruitment week, and for the first time in years I wasn’t running it. They were absolutely some of the best years, albeit some of the most stressful.

    Like

  22. Randee says:

    I became a teacher and have had the privilege of going back to school every September for 40 years. Except for one year, the year we relocated and I didn’t have a job. That was a sad time for me indeed. School–in all its shapes and forms–is a special place.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Randee,
      I think it’s the sense of community and togetherness that school provides, which is what makes it a special place. When we’re not there, we feel detached and maybe even lonely, sometimes.
      Thanks for the comment and all the best!

      Like

  23. Hannah says:

    I think everyone misses all these things about college at some level. I just graduated in May and thought that not going back to school was going to feel a lot stranger than it actually has. I have to admit that I haven’t had any crazy longing to go back but reading through your list definitely made me smile because each one brought back specific memories. I think the best part about college was realizing all those little things that made the experience so special. While some parts of college can never be replaced, certain activities and parts of the routine can be found in other parts of life, it’s all one big evolution of where we spend our time and who we spend our time with.

    Thanks for the nostalgia and good luck!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Hannah!
      You’re exactly right when you said the best part was realizing all the little things that made the experience special. Glad you enjoy my post!

      Like

  24. avwezel says:

    I feel the same way. I feel as though I lost a part of myself when I left my friends, the chances of staying up late with nothing to do the next day, my sorority sisters, working furiously on a paper because its due in three hours and you just started it. But my one of my favorite bands, not to get cheesy, Wild by Royal Teeth says what I truly believe, “Just because we’re growing up, doesn’t mean we’ve had enough.”

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment!
      Yeah, it’s definitely an adjustment being away from friends who we would normally see each and every day. Like those lyrics implied though, it doesn’t mean we stop making memories.

      Like

  25. I’m about to graduate college, and I don’t know if I’ll miss it. I can’t wait to get my diploma, but maybe a year from now I’ll be wishing to be in College haha

    Like

  26. Pingback: Little Things and Engagement Rings | LiLi's Life

  27. amaothman says:

    Ah I’m not the only one!! I’m not crazy πŸ™‚ Or maybe we both are…
    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Like

  28. I missed it so much… I went back! Ten years later, school is even more exciting now more than ever! So much new technology, so many diverse backgrounds. Good luck to you in this big wide world!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Technology has changed everything! If you think about it, University has gone from the “writing down everything the professor says” era, to the “writing down everything on the powerpoint slide” era. It’s crazy.
      Thanks for the comment and well wishes!

      Like

  29. Rachel Rene says:

    I felt this way too after I graduated. Missed a lot of the little things. It took longer for me, but when it hit, it sucked. But hey, there’s always grad school! πŸ™‚

    Like

  30. Marie Anne says:

    I love this. I’m about four years out of college and I still get really melancholy every fall when the leaves turn and everyone is back in school enjoying all their back-in-school experiences. I had so much fun in college, being surrounded by fellow English majors and constantly reading each others’ writing and learning and talking about what we learned. sigh… I’m getting all nostalgic and teary-eyed again πŸ™‚

    Like

  31. Tim Huang ENG says:

    Although I am a freshmen at my college, I completely understand how you’re feeling right now. My highschool experience made me reminiscence about the many things that I’ve missed. I completely agree with the lyric you posted up talking about not taking things for granted. 4 years of highschool passed by in a blink of an eye, which I assume will be the same for college. Many of my relatives also tell me that college is fun and hard, but most of all it is an experience that will never be forgotten. In addition,I also left many of my friends because they went to different colleges which was truly unfortunate. After reading your blog and thinking about what my relative said, I should definitely consider to make my time at college worth it. Good luck to you and your success!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi Tim, thanks for the comment!
      I thought 4 years went by quickly, but college went by much faster. Maybe it was the four month summer break, I don’t know. But it flew. I moved away to school and only one other person from my high school came to the same school as me and we weren’t really that close. So I knew no one. It was a blessing in disguise. All of my close friends, today, I met in college.
      Thanks for the kind words and best of luck to you! You’ll do great!

      Like

  32. Who can’t relate to such a subject? its been about 8 years since I graduated college and I still miss so many aspects of it every single day. You reminded me of a lot of things from my days back at Rutgers: the pasta line at the dining hall, fat sandwiches at 3AM after parties, even the studying and the constant need to ride the campus shuttles. It’s definitely something we don’t believe when adults used to say that college would be the best time of your life, only to realize it when it’s too late. Good times, good times.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Agreed! We don’t listen to adults until it’s too late. Now that we are adults, no one will believe us either. Gotta love the circle of life!
      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  33. amandagrimm says:

    I felt that way too when I graduated college… like we’re the only ones left in town when it feels like everyone’s going off to something greater. Well, thats me since my job sucked and now I’m back in school to fix it all again! And I don’t look forward to this again.. But it makes us look forward, treasure the years while we still have them.

    Great post πŸ™‚

    Like

  34. perhaps its because even i am a new graduate, this one made me cry! I’m being reminded of those school days, fun we had in the class rooms, arts day, my first presentation…Oh..the list is endless..thanks for this great post Paul.

    Like

  35. I am going through this right now. Its really strange that I am not going back to uni, however I am starting a new adventure that is distracting me for now from ‘real life’.

    This is a great post! πŸ™‚

    Like

  36. Pingback: Today I will miss and I will miss no more #college – Socially Connected

  37. noirfifre says:

    Oohhh stop it (pouts mouth).Two years out of university and I miss the routine. I think some family members are tired of my tales.

    Like

  38. Wow. First off, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Anyways, thanks for the wake-up call. I literally just started my second year of college. After living on campus the first year, being forced to commute this year has been a tiring bummer. You’ve reminded me that time passes quickly and that I’ll be in your shoes, looking back, a couple years from now. I’ve got to stop complaining and get back to experiencing college even though it’s not the way I wanted to!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi, thanks for the comment!
      I would complain too early in my college career about all the work and the early mornings. Eventually I learned to appreciate it all because every day would happen whether I wanted to wake up or not. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and best of luck to you!

      Like

  39. Buffy Leigh says:

    Oh goodness, I know exactly what you mean. When I handed in my final project for my BA, since I had no intention of going back, I was severely depressed for the entire summer. School is the one place on earth where I always feel like I belong, even when I was one of 450 students in a classroom, and I didn’t have a clue what to do with myself without it. And though I eventually found a really good job, I never stopped looking back and worked hard to get back to school, starting grad school after a 5 year break. Now with only one year left and no clear plans on a PhD, I’m worried the same cycle will begin as soon as that thesis defense is over… Thank you for your thoughts. I’m not sure I’ll be able to so eloquently sum up mine in a few months…

    Like

    • Paul says:

      It’s definitely hard to move on and not look back. I think it’s impossible not to. Thanks for the comment and good luck as you near the end of your schooling again!

      Like

  40. marci3820 says:

    I loved your post, it exactly describes how I have been feeling watching my friends return to school recently. I graduated in April with a degree in Visual Arts…no future I know….I feel like I have been floating since then, not quite sure what my next step is. Here’s to hoping we both figure it out soon!

    Like

  41. enhillstrom says:

    You know… I didn’t even think of this until I read your post. Not returning to school is going to be a sad day. I feel like my life has such purpose and potential. I love all of the same things that you miss. I’ll do my best to cherish it.

    Like

  42. lykabanana says:

    Reblogged this on ijustwantu2knowhoiam and commented:
    “I wrote it for the people currently in school, so they can cherish every single second of the experience.”

    Thank you, Paul — for changing the way I view my college life.

    Like

  43. lykabanana says:

    “I wrote it for the people currently in school, so they can cherish every single second of the experience.”

    I am in the mid-year of my sophomore life in college. For almost two unforgiving years, I kind of dreaded and hated it. But on the other side of the world, you miraculously wrote this article. And with just a few minutes, my view changed, practically for the better. It was as if it was meant for people like me to read it all along. Thank you, Paul for saving the memories I still have yet to live and cherish!

    Like

    • Paul says:

      You know, I’ve received a ton of messages from a lot of people about this post. But this one might mean the most to me. You still have a lot of time left in your college career. Enjoy it! Every little piece of it. Thanks for the comment; it has made my day.

      Like

  44. Worth ‘pressing’ indeed! Please don’t feel awkward — you made me cry. Truly moving! πŸ™‚

    Like

  45. Bree says:

    Reblogged this on Thoughts, Theories, and AP English and commented:
    I found this post randomly on the “Freshly Pressed” page and I love it! As cheesy as it sounds, this feels like fate. Senior year of high school and I still have the chance to enjoy every second I can. This is a great wake-up call to really make sure you’re enjoying every moment while it’s there. Things change very fast and most of the time you won’t even see it coming. This really puts things into perspective. Enjoy every moment while it is there to be enjoyed. Before you know it, everything is different and those once little things of the past become the things you miss the most.

    Like

  46. Kristen says:

    Trust me, you’re not alone!

    I’m pretty sure every grad goes through it, I know I did.I call it my post-college depression, during which I had to learn how to function in the real world (not the college one).

    You’ll always miss school…but just ride it out, and know that life gets better again!

    Like

  47. kyishie says:

    Hello paul,please could you help me out on how i could put up ads on my wordpress page? There seem to be no icon for that. Here,s my email konyeishie@gmail.com. expecting your mail

    Like

  48. Daniel says:

    Oh! How I can relate to this! My last year of college was the best year of my life. I would trade all tomorrows for one day in that year. It’s 3 years now and I haven’t moved on. I have no plans for the future, all my energy and time goes to thinking back to 2010-2011 😦 It’s hard, every day is a battle for me, really. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I didn’t take the year for granted, I knew that the year would end, but still I miss it so bad, miss my beloved teacher, the classmates I had, the school itself, the way to school, the food in the cantine, you know, everything! How are your days now? I really hope that your situation doesn’t get as bad as mine 😦

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Hi, my days are still filled with me looking back on my University experience and all the things I remember. Not employed yet, so I have nothing to distract me. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  49. I feel completely and utterly the same way, having graduated in May 2013. Life feels quite mundane without the interaction of people, and the hustle and bustle of a college campus.

    Like

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