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“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” // Mark Twain

An 8 x 10 piece of paper doesn’t really define anything but that’s what has been the end goal for the past eight years. And I frequently tell myself I won’t miss this place.

It hit me waiting for coffee near school where I saw clusters of incoming freshman hoping to find their best friends by going out together, exploring the foreign and antique-ridden circle. I couldn’t help but think back to the past three years and how I’m in a constant love/hate relationship with this gorgeous but increasingly monotonous school.

The love centered around the people I met. The hate centered around the people I met.

Some love came from being on an enclosed campus, everything in reach. The hate came from being on an enclosed campus, the same people walking around, everything in reach, knowing more about everyone because everyone knows everyone.

But school’s school and I welcome it with reluctant but open arms. Here’s to (hopefully) one semester left.

For college seniors there should be a week of being allowed to cry. Just break down and cry because you are scared and don’t know what’s next. // Bill Cosby

The second week of senior year started today. The third day of classes, the beginning of the end, the end of what was supposed to be the beginning of my life (Right?). The college experience. The cookie cutter expectations of what the next four years were supposed to bring you.

I’m supposed to find myself by doing what everyone else is doing.

I’ve been told I’m too young to do certain things but the second I step on to a campus tailored with school regalia, I’m supposed to know what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I’m supposed to focus on school and earn good marks but somehow manage to pay my way through school without a job. (Marks? Am I in a Harry Potter chapter? …I wish.)

“You should take a full load, you can graduate early.” vs. “Enjoy the college experience and take the minimum — you’ll still graduate on time.”

Almost 50 percent of people meet their spouse in college, I remind myself as I watch every guy walk by, immune to my presence.

Embrace school traditions, I’m told, as I stand fully-clothed on the sidewalk, watching the police watch half the student body running through the neighborhood, slurred and stripped down to barely anything.

About a month ago, a co-worker was graciously lending her ear to my incessant word vomit of how a friend was so ahead of the game, graduating early and saddling up to a big boy job, she looked me square in the face and said, “As someone slightly older, I need to tell you: there is no game. ”

There is no game.

There is no set timeline that everyone should follow to get the most out of their life.

There is no college experience.

There is no ideal experience that we should set out for ourselves to gain that college experience we’ve heard so much about. College is what you make it out to be.

I (And) am (here) a (is) great (my) case (narcissism) study.

Katherine Leon, Communication Studies major, English minor, hopeful graduate this fall. Today my senior professor distinguished between “Communications” and “Communication” — if this was made clear three and a half years ago, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. But, I work with what’s thrown at me, and I made the best of what classes I could take to tailor this major to make sense.

I had a not-so-stellar first year with a nightmare of a roommate. What I got out of that was great stories, the patience of a turtle on the sidewalk reaching for that piece of lettuce on a nearby table, an appreciation for earning what I work for, and a vacuum.

I didn’t rush. I am not a part of this huge Greek community and I’m still alive. I have friends, and I’ve managed to break out of my own shyness and appear more outgoing, which has gotten me far. Fake it till you make it, right?

Bombarded with questions matter-of-fact statements of “So you’re going to be a teacher?” as I applied to universities as an English major, I politely declined and said, “No, I want to study what interests me” with that kind of Tom Haverford confidence.

I somehow managed to balance school with a weekly paycheck job, shooting photos for the newspaper and the online magazine, extra classes at a community college, my internship at Kimmel, my current job which was a full credit internship at the time, a full load of courses, etc. etc. etc. I’m alive. Somehow.

18 credits a semester. That was fun. But I’m graduating early, so this IS fun.

First guy I was seriously interested in college was beyond smitten with my best friend. Second guy I was seriously interested in came out a year later. This year, the guy’s a sophomore so my TRACK RECORD IS GREAT.

Also, living at home is not the best situation for being a walking Chapman billboard.

So, college has been unconventional, almost boring, but I’m alive. And as much “Get me out of here” front I push out, I will eventually miss this place.

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2 thoughts on “The College Experience

  1. “There is no game.” KAT, you’ve put into words exactly what I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I just started my second week of senior year, too, and I relate totally to the watching-of-the-freshmen-trying-to-make-best-friends. It’s kind of awful, but kind of wonderful at the same time, I think—very surreal in knowing that that was you at one point. I hope you survive your last college semester! You’re a wonderful writer. Write more, plskthx. :)

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