The Expectations vs. Reality of Going Back To Your Alma Mater

The Expectations vs. Reality of Going Back To Your Alma Mater

Well, it was a long, winding road full of twists, turns, sunshine, and rain, but we finally made it. The last person in my group of friends from college is graduating today, and we couldn’t be happier for her. We’re so happy, in fact, that we all took it upon ourselves to show up to the occasion in some fashion or another.

That’s right. Charlie’s making his way back to the old Alma Mater for one last ride. I’ve been back before. Actually, I’ve probably been back to my college town more times as a postgrad than I should have—probably because some of my friends still live there, but hey. It’s been a fun time.

This time’s different though. It feels like there’s more weight added to it. Maybe it’s because the whole crew is finally graduated and fully employed. Maybe it’s because the people who traditionally have been single (read: me) are actually in a relationship now. Either way, we’ve made this trip enough times over the past few years, and in that time, we’ve all changed in one way or another.

The funny thing about going to your college town after changing and growing is that your expectations stay the same, despite the fact that you know they’re unrealistic. This is what I’m talking about.

The Drive Down

Expectations: Loud music. We’re blasting everything from Springsteen to Chance The Rapper to Blink 182 to Tom Jones. Everything under the sun, nothing is off limits. We reminisce on old times at our favorite bars and toss on some of the old bangers to build the excitement.

Reality: Well, none of us really have cars anymore, so we rented one and had some trouble figuring out the aux cord. Ken puts on an audiobook about pirates to pass the time, until there’s a scratch on the CD and we had to listen to local radio for a while there until we got it right.

The Campus

Expectations: Psh, I’m only two years older than a senior in college. I basically blend in with these motherfuckers. I can walk to all of my old classes, check out the old frat house, and take some pics with the landmarks, all in a day’s work. It’s like nothing has changed.

Reality: I’m not going to the actual campus. No matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to do it, I never have, and I probably only will if I’m taking Lila down here.

The Town

Expectations: Damn, there’s so much nostalgia down here. We’re going to do all the same stuff we used to, really shooting that nostalgia right into our veins. Well, everything except for donate plasma. *shudders*

Reality: Huh. This is way smaller than I remembered. The walk from Shakespeare’s to Piano is only, like, 5 minutes. Also, why did I think there was so much to do here. It’s literally all bars and, like, two music venues. I guess that would be a ton of fun if I were in college, but damn.

The Bars

Expectations: Holy shit. Hoooooooly shit. These drink specials are insane. The booze here is basically free! We’re going to hit all our favorite spots, see all our old bartenders, and get absolutely hammered with the random people we had classes with back in the day.

Reality: So, uh, I get that being in a college town implies that there are going to be people with fake IDs at the bar. But who the fuck are these children at the bar? Why are they able to drink more than me? Plus, this booze is terrible. It’s like drinking tequila from a bottle that they found on the ground outside of a CVS Pharmacy. I miss my girlfriend.

The Drunk Food

Expectation: “Oh shit, I used to eat this shit all the time!”

Reality: “Oh shit, I used to eat this shit all the time???”

The Next Day

Expectation: Alright, I know I can’t drink like I used to. I’ll probably have a hangover come Sunday, but that’s nothing I’m not used to. In fact, I usually wake up with a hangover on Sundays. This should be fine.

Reality: Kill me. I’m serious. Kill me. Just do it, or else this hangover will take me.

Image via YouTube

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Using sarcasm as a defense mechanism since 1993. At any given moment I'm either tired, drunk, or stressed out. Get at me at or whatever.

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