The Beauty in Going Back to CollegeKatie Powell

I loved every minute of college – skipping class because it was raining, sleeping only every few days but somehow having SO MUCH ENERGY, and all the people/places/weirdos/adventures in between. My biggest worries had to do with where I would spend the weekend with my friends and which eligible nice guy to flirt up. Despite all the greatness, during senior year my friends and I made the decision we were so over the private university bit and were ready to move on to real life. No more 18-page papers! Bring on the paychecks! No more student housing! I want my own place with all the stainless steel!

One graduation, two cities, three jobs and three places later, I found myself at my alma mater for THE school-wide event that I won’t even try to explain but it happens once every year and is really the only time I find myself back on campus. (Run-on sentence was necessary there, trust.) So there I was, hugging friends and teachers I hadn’t seen in far too long, sitting next to a sweet girl I met freshman year who is now a mom of two thinking where has the time gone? Wow, I sound like my mother! Call me #nostalgic, but I had to remind myself that I wasn’t about to jump up and join the students onstage and no, I wasn’t going to walk back to my dorm room after the show where I would stay up til’ 3 talking about boys and eating leftover pizza. Instead, I would drive back to my place a couple of hours away where I would pay my water bill and water the plants before my business trip to LA like an ADULT.

It’s a strange feeling, realizing you’re basically grown and looking back on your carefree and dare I say clueless 18-22 yr. old self. I wouldn’t trade anything for the college days and everything I learned and loved. The beauty in going back? Remembering what shaped me. Showing gratitude for the good and bad and everything in between during that season of my life. Isn’t it funny? It takes years and varied levels of distance to really see how special something was and will always be to us. Going back is a beautiful thing – don’t let anyone tell you differently. Often times it’s exactly what we need to gain a little perspective to keep us moving forward without abandon.

Still in college? Soak it all in. Live in the moment. Keep a journal if you’re at all a writer because it’s great entertainment later. Make mistakes and take lots of pictures. Skip class and get in a little trouble. Love every minute of those 4 (or 5) years and don’t rush the process. You have the rest of your life to have a real job, your own place and more responsibility than you bargained for.

If you’re lucky, you’ll still feel like you’re 22 and find yourself wondering how your boss trusts you with your very own American Express card.

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