Midway through high school, volleyball quickly consumed my life. Every other weekday and most weekends were spent at practice and tournaments. Yes, this did take a toll on the thriving social life I was cultivating (on Long Island…), but sacrifices had to be made. Naturally, I wanted to continue this lifestyle in college.
Fast-forward to first day freshmen year of college. I arrived a few weeks early for volleyball. The campus was nearly empty except for the fall season athletes and the weirdos going on an outdoor adventure trip (still REALLY jealous). I said sayonara to my family and headed to my first practice. The exhaustion that overwhelmed my body was suffocating.
Three weeks later, when the crippling soreness faded and my sight was restored, I saw that college was wonderful. The rest of the students arrived on campus and suddenly there was free stuff everywhere! T-shirts, posters, water bottles, tote bags, key chains, rape whistles, you name it! College was turning out to be great! I had a cafeteria that fed me, a custodial staff that refilled the toilet paper, a job as part of my financial aid package, and I had at least 20 friends within a 10-foot radius.
However, like my aching muscles, my excitement over these $52,000 free gifts faded as well. I thought that college was going to just hand me my independence – turns out I was going to have to find it on my own.
Fast-forward to first day freshman year of life. Independence bitch-slapped me in the face and then sucker-punched me in the gut. When discussing the transition from college to “the real world,” I like to compare it to a babysitter playing peek-a-boo with a baby (I’m the baby). This is no typical game of peek-a-boo though. When the babysitter pulls his/her hands back to playfully shout “Peek-a-boo” you, instead, see the devil’s head up in flames roaring at you saying “GET A JOB” and then you cry…you cry a lot.
There’s no free rape whistles here in the real world. There’s no cafeteria waiting to feed me, and there’s definitely no custodian waiting to refill the toilet paper in the bathroom. Living with two boys, I’ve found the toilet paper on top of the roll, underneath the roll, on top of the toilet, to the right of the toilet, or just not at all. I maybe have 6 friends within 2 miles (including my dad and my step-mom), and finally, the real world definitely does not hand you a job just because you’re in need of financial aid.
These days, I’m rarely sore from exercise and free stuff isn’t being thrown my way. So pretty much, the real world is starting off the exact opposite of how college did. With that, I can only assume that like college, adult life will too balance out. Rather than having an anxiety attack over the overwhelming amount of independence I now have, I’m either going to take on more responsibility or just say fuck it and travel. Who knows? Probably fuck it and travel though.