Newfound Independence

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The thing about going off to college is that there’s a newfound sense of independence that comes with it. You make the meals that you want to eat, you clean (or don’t clean) the way you want, and you’re the only person who will ever do your laundry. It’s also usually the first time you live with people who aren’t family. You learn their quirks and downfalls, but you’re essentially stuck, so you make the most of it.

The first year I went to college, I got lucky and ended up with a great roommate. Our two other housemates drove us a little crazy, but we could always confide in each other and learned to deal with them. We spent most of our time watching Harry Potter movies and eating cereal at one in the morning.

The second year, I was put into a house with three people who were already friends. It was a little daunting because I knew it would always be three against one if there were ever any disputes. Thankfully, they were all nice and although they drove me up the wall with their habit of never cleaning dishes and waking me up at all hours with their noise, there were always places I could escape to if I needed a break.

At college, you’re the only one who will make sure homework is done on time and that you actually get up for classes. You realize what it’s like to function as an adult, while still having fun and partying in your free time. It’s only once you graduate that you understand how good life was and you spend the rest of your days wishing for it back. I think I’m still too young to reminisce about the good old days, but I’m definitely getting in a lot of practice for when I’ve got my own kids to complain to.

Life’s a Beach

The school became an entirely different place when midterms and finals rolled around. You’d have to fight for a seat in the library and share a desk with a fellow student who had pages of notes stuck to their face while they slept. Yet, there was nothing more satisfying than biking home, feeling well-studied, with the ocean breeze whistling past.

UCSB is known for being a “party” school, but there was more to the experience than that. Every college has parties – no big deal! However, I actually went to a party once, at a house that probably would have been condemned in any other place, but talking to the host lead to the conversation that he’d never leave, no matter the condition. He was paying $700 a month for beach-front property. If that’s not a deal, I don’t know what is. They may have been sharing living space with cockroaches and noisy neighbors, but they awoke every morning with the sun streaming through the windows and nothing but the sight of an endless ocean before them.

The school was like its own world trapped inside this one, but I never once felt out of place or unwelcome. For me it was the nirvana of schools and I couldn’t have imagined going to study anywhere else.