I love hanging around with old college buddies and rehashing the past just as much as anyone else who had a good time in school does. Hell, I live with two of my fraternity brothers, so that’s a constant part of my life. But the danger that’s inherent is the inability to accept the fact that you’re no longer in college. Speaking as someone who has struggled with this and has friends who still haven’t figured it out, here are a few signs you need to let go.
1. You’re still good at beer pong.
Beer pong is like any other activity that requires a certain level of athletic form. If you don’t maintain your skills, your performance will atrophy. There’s nothing wrong with playing the occasional game if a bar hosts a big tournament, or if a table is set up at a party you go to. But if you’re still knocking down cup after cup and drumming scrubs off the table, that might not really be a good sign.
Beer pong isn’t like riding a bike. Your shooting motion isn’t muscle memory, even though you will sheepishly claim it is when you run the table for the whole night. If you’re still taking over like Jordan in his 63-point Game 2 performance in the first round of the ‘86 playoffs, you’re probably playing a lot more often than a responsible adult should. Beer pong is a beautiful game, and it’s still a rush to go for a Dwayne Wade running long ball in spite of being down two cups–but anyone who thinks about his or her health insurance policy on a daily basis shouldn’t participate in activities that celebrate the concept of binge drinking with any sort of regularity.
2. You use your college ID to get discounts at the bar.
I was guilty of this for my first two years out of school. You’re still going to the same bars you always did, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of a free cover and half-priced drinks? It’s not like the bouncer has a list of everyone who’s already received his or her diploma. The point isn’t deception. Hell, I’ll use any form of bullshit it takes if the result is cheap drinks. The main issue is that you shouldn’t go to college bars anymore. You’re one of the adults now, so stop sitting at the kids table. The great thing about being a postgrad is that there are dozens of bars in your city that cater to your age group. Why would you spend time drinking and talking to girls in a place where everyone is trying to escape the inevitability of finals? Go to a dive bar or a whiskey joint, pay a little more for your drinks, and complain about how your boss doesn’t listen to anyone’s new ideas with everyone else your age.
3. Facebook is still your primary social media site.
There are two types of adults who use Facebook. There are the people who got on board when entering school back when Facebook required a university email address to register, and those who joined after already being out of school for several years as a way to reconnect with people they hadn’t talked to in years. If you’re reading this column on this particular site, you’re probably well-entrenched in the former. I feel like the trend of my friends deleting their profiles went from “I’m just doing this to sound cool” to “this is actually a good idea for pretty much everyone” in about 18 months. I still have my profile for basically one reason, and it’s that every picture that I care about (old friends, crazy road trips, drunk nights I don’t remember) lives on Facebook. As soon as there is a way I can save all of them in bulk, I’m jumping ship faster than a Somali pirate after seeing “Captain Phillips.”
4. You brag about your GPA.
I hated it when people smugly talked about their GPAs when they were actually relevant. You know what bearing your final GPA has on your postgrad life if you choose to eschew graduate school? Absolutely fucking nothing. I’ve had a couple corporate jobs since graduating and several more interviews. You know how many times my grades came up in the interview process? Zero point zero. Companies don’t care whether you were able to retain your professor’s lectures well enough to hold onto a solid B in your 400-level business management class. First of all, you’re not in management, you’re a drone; and second of all, the skill set required to make good grades overlaps on a Venn Diagram with the skill set to be a good employee about as much as fans of both Limp Bizkit and Stevie Nicks overlap (so probably only me). When I hear someone my age bragging about the grades he or she got in college, I immediately assume it’s because this person is a failure in current life, and his or her GPA is all he or she has left to hold on to. This person is like a blue collar guy who still talks about winning state in high school–except that guy got a fucking ring to prove it.
5. The story of “Old School” sounds really appealing to you.
Three dudes in their 30s, unsuccessful in various ways, move into a house and start their own fraternity. Todd Phillips does a phenomenal job of making that scenario look cool. I’m not going to act like I’m not somewhat seduced by the prospect of owning a shitty house and letting my rich friend who owns six Speaker City stores and is worth three and a half million dollars (that the government knows about) throw kickass parties that hundreds of people will show up to. But once again, that damn Hollywood magic makes things look much more appealing than they really would be. Let’s think about this for a second. Three guys 15 years older than the average college student move into a house near campus and try to get kids to show up and party with them. Is there a world in which that’s not the creepiest thing ever? The only people who would actually show up to that place would be the socially inept, a few guys who washed out of pledging, and homeless alcoholics looking for free booze.