It’s easy to look back on college and say, “what a friggin’ ride,” nostalgic for the experiences (i.e. Thirsty Thursdays, getting my tongue pierced, regularly walking four-miles home completely intoxicated, etc.). And as a result, it’s fairly normal to wish you could relive those years rather than succumbing to the responsbilities of growing up.
But for many, it’s not so commonplace to recall those memories and also long for the lecture halls, homework, routine class assignments and overall education. Some of us, including myself, seemingly miss more than the “college experience”; we remember the six-pound Shakespeare textbook, the group projects, the two-hour analytical critiques and the studying, and yearn even moreso for those four-years we already left behind.
I attended a Newspaper Academy, hosted by the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Press Association, last Friday in Chapel Hill. It was not something mandated by my publication, nor was it something my editor strongly recommended. It was an opportunity he placed on my desk that I eagerly jumped toward.
It’s been two years since my college graduation – damn, how time flies! – and in the back of my mind, I’ve always known how much I missed my years at Penn State, and not just for the crazy moments. It was more than my friends, my apartment, my free weekends and my far-fewer responsibilities I fondly recalled, but those days spent in the classroom, learning.
Since I was two years old, I’ve been that nerdy girl interested in school. With a lunchbox in hand, I’d prance around the house, asking my mother, “Can I go to school now?” My unfaltering anticipation led my parents toward enrolling me in a pre-preschool so their little girl could finally begin her school years.
Each summer, I’d impatiently wait for August when I could fill my backpack with school supplies and delve back into the books. Once my birthday passed in mid-July, it was nearly impossible for me to enjoy the rest of my summer because I so badly wanted to return to class. (Huge dork, I know.) And even now – as a 23-year-old with a full-time job, part-time job, way too many bills, responsibilities, hardly any free time, etc. – I cannot get the thought of heading back to college out of my brain. Friday’s day-long workshop at UNC simply cemented how much I miss learning and working toward a greater goal. Being in those lectures, taking notes, wandering around campus for a photojournalism course, all of those things truly narrowed my college nostalgia to my education, rather than just the fun I had.
So despite being $50,000 in the hole with the student loans I already have, I’m weighing my options and seriously considering either attaining my masters (something pertaining to social media) or working toward my third B.A. degree (in French). I’ve yet to decide which, and hell, I’ve yet to take my GRE which is a bit necessary if I’d like to be accepted by a university (probably UNC-Charlotte). I’m moving slowly with this newly-discovered desire, but I guess this realization was a long time coming. Thoughts of becoming a student again have danced in my head since I turned my tassel, but either myself or others have repeatedly convinced me that it was the life I led from 2003-2007 that I missed and not the learning experience.
On Friday, at UNC, those notions were swiftly proven wrong.
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