With the academic year reaching another epic finale and graduation looming on the horizon for many students, a frequently ignored question suddenly becomes glaringly obvious: Is this it? Really? Is this the end of the college years?
Fortunately, I’m still a year away from legitimately posing myself this question, but it still haunts me due to its inevitability. Since starting my internship and seeing what reality outside the university campus is like, I unfortunately have to confess that university is a huge bubble in which every student lives. We may sometimes hate student life, but student life is better than you might initially think.
I had this epiphany mainly after starting my internship. For example, I would undoubtedly choose my university schedule over my internship schedule. I mean, just look at the numbers! As an intern (and for most jobs), I am required to be fully awake, present and smiling at all my co-workers between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Under these conditions, my coffee addiction is finally justified! This is the only item that will keep me mentally sane after consecutively waking up at those daring hours throughout the week while seemingly acting normal. Compared to my life as a student, waking up mid-week at 1 p.m. was completely fine. I could actually do this any day of the week, unless a pesky morning class interrupted my sleep.
The freedom of a student becomes unquestionable when it comes to deadlines as well. During my internship, there always seems to be someone watching me at work! Not literally, obviously, but the feeling of a boss looking over my shoulder waiting for a task to be completed is something I never experienced as a student. Stated bluntly, as a student I am my own boss. I may have a deadline, but if I decide to procrastinate my paper until 2 a.m., that’s my problem! I under estimated this sense of liberty but as soon as my internship started, I thoroughly missed it.
Finally, the social aspect of a university campus will always motivate a student to come back. The one reason why I enjoy visiting the campus is that I also see it as a social hub. I will always either meet new people or find a friend I haven’t seen in ages. Don’t get me wrong, my co-workers are lovely people as well (seriously they are lovely), but it is still a limited group of people compared to thousands of students in a university.
After getting this sneak peek into reality, I seem to miss living as a student again. Living on a budget and eating pasta every day to save some extra money can certainly become tiring. But in my view, university just has a charm that other aspects of your long life seem to lack. This “charm” is hard to explain, but I still haven’t met a former student who doesn’t remember fondly his student years. Like me, they also understand the delightful aspect of living life as a simple student.
So, to any student wishing to finish university as soon as possible, or who is graduating this year, I repeat the question: do you really want college to end?
Pietro Vigilanza from Venezuela lives in Rotterdam since two years and studies IBCoM