As a lowly entry-level employee, you should take any chance to travel for anything even vaguely work-related. The hotel bar tabs that get reimbursed, the sloppily pulled together timelines of networking events, and the experience of a new place are all so inviting. I love to travel, both for work or for pleasure. But sometimes in the postgrad glory that surrounds an unsupervised business trip, we get reminded that no matter how much fun we try to have, trips back to college are entirely better and always will be.
Picture this: you arrive at the hotel on a Friday afternoon. You check in with your dull, mauve suitcase. You try to decide if the concierge would be DTF, and then you hear it. Your sixth sense is suddenly on high alert–you hear the faint and familiar sounds of troublemaking and people crushing beers. You turn around and see a group of well-dressed gentlemen, accompanied by their equally drunk female counterparts. Both sexes are clad in neon tank tops and proudly march down the halls carrying Bubba kegs. It’s a fraternity formal. Your stomach drops, and a nostalgic flood overcomes your pathetically tame postgrad self. The way their neon colors compare to your grey suit is equal to the amount of fun they’re having compared to you.
Not only are you not participating in any part of this fun-filled debauchery, but you are entirely too old to intrude. You cannot compete with their rabble-rousing, and you’d fall asleep by the open bar anyway. All you can do is sit back, enjoy a beer or two, and watch with jealousy as they consume their entire body weight in alcohol. The jealousy is sickening, as they romp around the hotel without a care in their undergrad world.
Even if you attempt to go to sleep before midnight, the hallways will be filled with the sounds of your fun and inebriated past. Good luck getting any sleep, because the ghost of your former drunken self will haunt your sleepless night. FOMO will set in, as well as tossing and turning in a depressed fit. They’ll be able to drink until 4 a.m. and still get up at 9 a.m. You can’t survive on less than a good seven hours of shut eye.
Good thing the walls aren’t thick enough to keep out the smells of illicit drug use or the sounds of inappropriate sexual activities occurring just on the other side. Both are happening. Both are happening without you.
I found myself in this very situation recently, and the outcome wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, but my college self was wide awake. I should have been the one chugging the beers and streaking down the hallways, but instead I breezed through some “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns. Pathetic.
You can comfort yourself in knowing that those times have passed, you had fun, and you could have outdrunk those kids in your heyday. But in the deep depths of your heart, the fear of missing out is so strong and you will have no choice but to drink yourself into depression.
Don’t worry–you’ll still tell yourself how much that fraternity probably sucks at that school, and how the girls were way hotter when you went to your formals. Pass on the hotel-ruining torch to the next generation of Greek life and be thankful you get your entire deposit back, even though you can never have those drunken days back.