These kids are so much younger than me…

“I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad, and think, “Oh my God!
I am totally gonna go far!”
-Avenue Q

This seems to be the sentiment of people who have completed college, but why is it the sentiment of myself, a junior, someone who is still a year and a half away from completing it?
Day after day I see people walk these halls with that same idea, only to know that they are not “totally gonna go far,” and that the real world has a rude awakening in store for them. Every day I watch people, some of them older than me, bask in an idealistic, pseudo-intellectual mindset that only seems to retard their development into adults and their successful entry into the real world. I feel like an absolute misfit here not being able to simply enjoy myself and live out my college days like Flounder or Bluto. I’ve been constantly reminded by classmates that college is “just for fun,” so why do I keep taking it so seriously?
Perhaps it is an environmental situation. I was raised with two older brothers to idolize: one eccentric and brilliant, the other gregarious and sharp. I grew up trying to be like them and, as a result, I tend to be in the mindset of someone not my age. I seem to always end up thinking like the boring adult in each situation and, once again, find myself to be the misfit.

“How do I go back to college?
I don’t know who I am anymore!”

When the previous verse stated, “in college you know who you are,” it stretched the truth a bit. In college, you know who you are supposed to be. Maybe you’re the jerk with a heart of gold, or the short person with tons of frenetic energy, or the quiet guy who is more than he seems… but you’re never really you. You are who you are supposed to be, and you dare not step outside that circle, for fear of distaste with your chosen group or *gasp* possibly being alone.
For the most part, you’re an exaggerated caricature of some kind of stereotype you have been observing since you were small. In college, you form your little groups, and you have your amazingly intelligent “conversations” (which you find out later really weren’t all that intelligent) and you play your part. I used to say “if you’ve gone through high school you know how to act,” but I think I can add college to that too.
This leads to the heart of my argument, the line “I don’t know who I am anymore!” This is lamented by various post-collegiate characters as they dream of the days of yesteryear. But, as I’ve said earlier, they never really did find out who they were. Instead, they relied on Full House and Saved by the Bell to tell them who they were supposed to be and, when they reached the real world, they realized that they can no longer play those characters and survive.
There is a lack of identity today. People build up walls around these characters and flock from one group to another in attempts to fill that void within them, where their personal character and identity should be. Reality television is so popular because today, people have no inner self, so theyy seek to feed off others’ lives in an attempt to find that key element that is missing in their own lives.
This is just a theory. Perhaps, in five years, I will look back on this and dismiss it as a little kid trying to sound intelligent and cycnical. It’s not that I am not enjoying college immensely, or that I have some secret vendetta against anyone, I just feel…lost. Lost in my own generation. I feel like I should be out there, with them, being silly and idealistic and maybe getting punched in the face by reality someday, because that’s what a college kid does. We sit on the quad, and think “oh my God! I am totally gonna go far!” That’s how it’s supposed to go, and I kinda wish I was feeling it too.
Instead, I feel more like the end of the song:

“I’d sit on the quad and think “oh my God…
these kids are so much younger than me…”

I don’t feel my age. Or maybe I am acting my age, and everyone else has retrograded somehow. But that’s a story for another day…
Until we meet again,
Eric.

One thought on “These kids are so much younger than me…”

  1. Er.. no

    College is NOT “Just for fun.” Who said that? They are obviously here for the wrong reason and are going to get a rude awakening. While the college experience IS very enjoyable as it enables you for the first time in your life to get a taste of independence, it is a taste and only a taste, and at the same time it is very enlightening. You do find out more of who you are in college, and you spend your years polishing this up to use it when the time comes. Many people believe college to be extremely hard mentally and emotionally, but they need to realize this is the easy part still.
    You are more than welcome to enjoy yourself, work doesn’t always have to mean work all the time. Work and play. A healthy balance of both is crucial to function in any way.
    Maybe you feel like one of the faster maturing types, so what, there is nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything too wrong with those that are getting there a little slower. You just have to let people move at their own pace. There’s nothing you can do about that.
    Going with the theme 😉
    Everything in life is only for now! (George Bush)
    see ya round.

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