I have no shame in admitting that the most fun I've had thus far in my life was during college. I get ripped on by many people for the frequent amount of times I have gone back to school to visit since graduating.
I have heard everything from "move on," to "grow up" and "stop living in the past." I just laugh it off because, honestly, if I want to head back to school for a weekend to relive the glory days, well, I'm going to do just that.
I fell in love during college, I had my heart broken in college, I made some god-awful mistakes in college that taught me valuable lessons and I established the most rewarding friendships during my time in college.
College was my home and the most stable environment I lived in; it was the place I felt the most secure and safe.
After abruptly moving 1,500 miles away from my New York hometown to my new home in South Florida in the middle of high school, I never really felt settled anywhere.
That is probably the most difficult time to move -- at least in my opinion. I had to start over, make new friends and acclimate to a completely different setting. The only comfort I found was that it's way easier to move from New York than it is to New York.
Before beginning freshman year of college, I once again packed my life into boxes and suitcases. This time, I was heading back up north, to Penn State where I would again have to resettle. I was used to this by now and headed to college with an open mind.
College was a place where I grew up and learned to be self-sufficient. By returning to this sacred place, all of those feelings and memories come flooding back.
This is my defense of visiting college as a post grad:
1. You grew up here
As much as you like to think you grew up in high school, the experiences you have in college are the ones that will shape you.
The person you are coming into your freshman year is vastly and wonderfully different than the person who exits senior year. You will have faced four (or more) years of ups and downs, fights and reconciliations, along with love and heartbreak.
2. The experiences you had here are unlike anywhere else
College campuses are a whole new setting, one drastically different than any you will come across anywhere else in life. Where else are you forced to learn lessons the hard way?
Where are your real intentions put to the test? Where else do you get to basically live in a fantasy land surrounded by your life-long friends? This is the place where you will create memories unlike those anywhere else.
3. You learn the true meaning of responsibility
This is probably the first time you ever actually had to try in school (exception: the AP freaks out there -- just kidding, not really), where you are solely responsible for your grades and extra credit is nonexistent.
You also have to actually take care of your health and nutrition. Your parents aren't there to force you to see a doctor or make you dinner after a long day.
College symbolizes freedom as this is probably the first time you are living away from home for an extended period of time. You have unlimited freedoms and it's up to you how you spend it.
You are finally forced to learn how to prioritize; you learn to balance a social life and a workload, a skill you will most definitely carry with you for the rest of your life.
5. Lifelong friendships
Let's be real: Chances are you lost touch with your high school friends at some point during college. That is only natural, as everyone moves to college and is likely far away from one another. Schedules become rigorous and planned visits just don't seem to work out.
Your college friends are most likely those who will be in your life far after graduation. They will be the ones you likely move to new cities with, celebrate anniversaries and engagements with and who will stand by you at your wedding.
6. Self discovery
The people you meet and the relationships you form will all contribute to the person you have become after college. By living in such close quarters with other people your age, who are also going through similar experiences, will mold your viewpoint; it will teach you what qualities are acceptable and disgraceful. You will not only learn through your own experiences, but through those of the people around you.
7. When you go back to visit, there are no more tests
All of the amazing things that made you love your college experience are magnified when you return. All of you responsibilities have been left in the real world.
On any chosen weekend , you get a chance to come back to the bubble and immerse yourself wholeheartedly in the place that shaped you. The stress of classwork and exams is gone and you finally get a new perspective on how great you really had it.
Top Photo Courtesy: We Heart It