I knew what I was getting into when I began student teaching: lunches that can be microwaved, late nights with no pay and grading lots and lots of poorly written essays.
Something that I did not anticipate began to dawn on me as I returned to campus for the occasional seminar: I feel unfamiliar with the campus that I used to call home. Am I really a grown up already?
When I began looking into different colleges during high school, the biggest unanswered question I had was about college culture. The ability to come and go as I pleased was so enticing, and seemed very unfamiliar to me. I wondered what it was like to live in residence halls and pull all-nighters during finals week.
The countless college brochures I browsed noted that these college towns revolved around the hustle and bustle created by undergrads. I so desperately wanted to design and shape my own schedule, mostly because I didn’t want to wake up before 10 a.m.
Now, things are different. I wake up at 6 a.m. daily, and sleeping in on the weekends is a luxury. I am in the classroom beginning at 7:30 a.m. and I sometimes leave when the sun is setting. Beyond that, I take work home to grade, and assist my mentor teacher with planning. I do it all over again the next day and work part time in the evenings and on weekends.
So what have I learned from this? Being an adult sucks.
I didn’t anticipate missing campus as much as I do. I wish I still felt the freedom of leaving my residence hall for a scenic bike ride. I wish a library were still a five-minute walk away from my home. Grabbing Jimmy John’s at midnight without judgment certainly isn’t a possibility now that I live with my parents.
The only thing still tying me to campus is extracurricular involvement and clubs.
These commitments only occur a few times a week at most, but I wish I had the time to do more. ASU’s campus is vibrant and something is always about to happen. Our students have the potential to create a lot of great things and we’ve proven that to be true time and time again.
Now that it’s almost time for me to move the tassel on my graduation cap to the other side, I’m nervous that I won’t have access to such an exciting and accepting community.
I remember being afraid of not being accepted when coming to college, and now I’m scared that I won’t find that same support network in my career.
More than anything, I’m going to miss the opportunity to be my unrestricted self. I’ll just have to find out how to keep my inner Sun Devil alive in the real world.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com or follow her at @soupsnake
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.