A MinD in MoTown

…I’m a Toys ‘R Us kid.
October 13, 2009, 5:02 pm
Filed under: I am getting old..., MoTown, Pourquoi?, WE ARE...

Every time I travel to Penn State for a visit – about once per semester – I leave the borough of State College with mixed feelings that seem to slightly cloud my first few days back in reality.

My weekends surrounded by the blue and white are always fabulous. Filled with plenty of laughs, crazy times, drunken debauchery (of sorts) and occasionally new friends, it’s easy to depart Pennsylvania feeling a bit more nostalgic and missing my college life oodles more than the day I arrived.

But – and perhaps this is a sign that I truly am growing up despite my attempts not to entirely – I also leave State College a little happy, anxious to return to the adulthood I’ve created for myself in North Carolina. I strangely start looking forward to lounging on my couch, in sweats, with my puppy and watching TV all night, rather than putting on my sexiest heels and tightest cleavage-exposing shirt as I head to the bar.

I typically expect to feel old and somewhat more mature diving head first back into college fun for a few days, but it’s a strange morose, glum mood that accompanies those sentiments as my brief vacation comes to a close. Days like today, only 24 hours after making my way back home, I find myself lingering somewhere between happy and longing for the weekend that passed and relieved and excited to have it end. Bizarre, right?

It’s easy to anticipate eventually noting a significant detachment from those college years, hitting that point where it’s clear how truly over those “glory days” are. Is this what that feels like? Because, if so, I never supposed it’d arrive while I still had students for friends and people there to visit. When I was married and had kids, perhaps, but not while I’m still only 24 years old, out of school just more than two years, and always longing to return to State College even if for a brief moment.

Is this something different? Maybe just a recognition that I am, indeed, getting older and farther from those days I so completely miss… As I type this post, that seems to be the most logical reasoning because why else – if choosing the former option – would such excitement envelop me in the weeks leading to my Penn State arrival as well as my total happiness throughout the weekend (and I will note that I had an AMAZING time this past weekend, without a doubt!).

Maybe it’s all just another part of growing up and leaving behind the college life I loved so much. Maybe it’s because there are things I would change about how I spent my PSU days, or maybe because I look at all those who are still students and I’m completely filled with jealousy at what they’re just starting to experience. Or hey, maybe I just totally miss the lack of responsibility or care for anything in the world other than fun.

I’m sure a variety of factors and feelings are contributing to my mediocre mood today – and a cold I seemingly got at Penn State is surely not helping – but either way, when this passes and I start planning for my next trip to State College, at least I’ll remember what to expect. Sure, I knew this time, at least to some extent, but writing it now, today, as I’m feeling it seemed like a wise decision.

I suppose the real question is: Will these feelings and emotions change my desire to jump on a plane and fly 500 miles north again in a few months? Will I forego the pure exhiliration of seeing friends, partying, shopping and happily laughing my way through a weekend because I might feel a bit “blah” afterward? Likely not. I can always deal with a little “meh” for something as amazing as a Penn State weekend because, when it truly comes down to it, that place and everything about it will run through my veins forevermore. After all, like the PSU saying goes, I bleed blue and white, and really, I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.

10 Comments so far
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All I can muster to say is…


Hehe, it’s good enough for me.

Comment by Felicia

I have to wonder if this is how I’ll feel two/three years down the line. Considering how all of my close friends will have graduated by then with only a handful staying here for grad school, I somehow doubt it. Though Chapel Hill will always hold a special place in my heart.

“I’m a tar heel born and a tar heel bred and when I die I’ll be a tar heel dead.”

Nice saying, I like it. And even though I feel this way, there’s no way Penn State as a school or a place I love means less. I know without a doubt in my mind. I just wonder if, being two years out with few friends left – and seeing how much I’ve grown since saying goodbye – that it doesn’t quite feel the same as it once did. That might not make sense…

Comment by Kendall

It’s natural for things to change, and I’m glad they do. Sure its great reliving the “glory days” of years past, but weep not for those days long gone, because think of all the greatness you have yet to achieve!

Talk about an optimistic response, and you are right. I never expected to enjoy college as much as I did, and I always wonder how the rest of my life will compare. But perhaps I’ll be saying the same about today, tomorrow and so on. Who knows. I like the way you think!

Comment by OmegaRadium

I know exactly what you mean. I bleed Orange & Blue. My college experience was epic and I will never forget it. Going back is nice but it’s not always the same. New crowds & new group of people. But ever once in a while, a return trip is worth it.

It’s certainly not the same – especially with a place like State College that keeps changing, building new buildings, etc. But in the end, how much fun I end up having makes it worth it. I love that place. I’d live there if I could (I think so anyway), but it’s all bittersweet at the same time.

Comment by phampants

I am one of the few who really, really hated her college experience. I spent 1 year up at the dorms and it was the worst year of my life. It didn’t help that I had the roommate from hell but I’m now commuting and I love it. And I kind of, in a way, feel this with my job and school. I work at a preschool and it’s such a different experience/atmosphere than my real life, it seems. There I’m concerned with potty-training, singing silly songs, and taking care of two-year-olds…and when I’m not there, I’m just a college student, studying journalism and blogging and not having much to do with kids. Although, I don’t feel any type of sadness about it. Ha…when I’m done with work, I’m so happy to revert back to being a college student and not worrying so much about taking care of kids. I’m not sure if this superlong comment makes any sense but I can definitely relate. In a way. 🙂

Those are definitely opposite sides of the spectrum. I can’t believe anyone has patience to be a preschool teacher! I’d never be able to do it, but if in your shoes, I’d prefer reverting back to just college student sometimes. Your comment sort of made sense, haha, so no worries.

Comment by Stephany

Such a true sentiment about being in those weird times after college but before the rest of life. I totally relate to this.

Glad someone can!

Comment by Kimwithak

hey mindy, you’ve been wandering around my brain again because this is EXACTLY how I feel every time I visit my old buds in NJ.

Is it odd I don’t feel this way back home, in Scranton? I mean, it’s clear I miss my friends, but perhaps I’ve distanced myself enough from that place to not feel this way there, too.

Comment by thatShortChick

I know exactly what you’re saying. That’s how I feel about Mooresville. I bleed Blue & White for those MHS Blue devils! 🙂

So bizarre – no lie – to hear someone say that about where I live now.

Comment by Melissa

it’s just a part of growing up my friend.

Boo hiss. Maybe I’m not ready to grow up.

Comment by alexa - cleveland's a plum

I feel really very old right now..it makes me sad

Ohh, I hope this post didn’t make it worse… But ya, I’m still sad. =(

Comment by pinkjellybaby

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