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Your One Friend Who Never Left College

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No matter what school you attended, or which social organizations you belonged to, we all have something in common. It’s not the fact that we all graduated with worthless pieces of paper that equal hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurmountable, soul-crushing debt, nor is it the plethora of liver and venereal diseases we gained that we now dismiss under the banner of “life experience.” Nay, what we all share is that one special friend we all have, the one friend that we all love dearly — and simultaneously envy and pity. In our hearts, we want to be them, but in our minds, we’re happy we’re not. This rare breed is none other than the friend who never left college.

I’ll level with you, graduation is all kinds of scary. As someone who finished a semester early, I’m even jealous of people who had a full four years, so there is absolutely something very attractive about getting to be a 5th+ year senior. Of that, there’s no denying.

You’ll be sitting at your desk on any given Monday, cruising Facebook on your lunch break (or, you know, all day instead of working), and you’ll see pictures of them at a sorority mixer, partying with beautiful, buxom college girls with loose morals and all of your younger friends. Meanwhile, all you did last weekend was binge-watch March Madness and drink yourself to sleep after your regular booty call couldn’t come over because her gout was flaring up.

And for them, it’s pretty great as well — at first. Big man on Campus? Forget that, you’re the BIGGEST man on campus. You’ll be holding office hours at your favorite booth at your favorite bar. You know every single in and out of campus, and are known for holding tours and impromptu info sessions to new and prospective students. Want to know the only place you can get Coca-Cola on an all-Pepsi campus? Stick with this guy, kid, you’ll learn something. You’re taking your Victory Lap like a pro. Women want you, Men want to be you. Hell, men want you and women want to be you. You’re a unisex icon. You know everything there is to know about this campus, your college town, and as far as you’re concerned, there’s nothing outside of it. You are the master of your domain.

But then you go trolling Facebook, because, after all, you’re most likely only taking one or two classes — if any. You see all of your closest friends, the people you graduated with, entering a new phase of their lives. They talk about their jobs, their personal lives, and some of them even share articles from humor sites about postgrad life (hint, hint). Everyone’s getting engaged, getting married, getting hired, fired, rehired, promoted, going on business trips. You name it, they’re doing it. Everyone’s doing it. Except you. And you’ll find that the longer you stay, the more things change. The place seems to get younger and younger, and you find yourself knowing fewer people, getting more disconnected from the place you love. But you stay the same, and you start to become a fixture of your college. The best part of that is when all of your friends come up, they’re all coming to see you. But as time goes on, their visits get fewer and further between, as life starts getting in the way. And as painful as it is for your employed friends to see you partying your brains out with a bunch of college kids, it’s even more painful seeing all your friends together, hanging out in their new city, with their adult lives, without you.

As attractive and fun as it is to be the Van Wilder character and to stay in school forever, it’s not worth it, and we all eventually have to move on with our lives. Nobody’s saying that you shouldn’t take time to adjust and figure out your life. Take an extra semester or year. Go to grad school. Travel the world. Hell, look for jobs at your alma mater and settle down in the surrounding area. Just do yourself a favor: move out of the frat house, get off campus, and find your own way in life. You’ll be glad you did.

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