When I was applying to college I had pretty much no idea what I wanted, expect for one thing: I needed to be in a big city and I needed my campus to be right in the city. I just couldn’t picture myself going to house parties and tailgating football games every weekend. I wanted to be around great restaurants, good shopping, hip nightlife, museums and theatre (I’m a little nerdy.)
I ultimately chose Drexel University, which was pretty much perfect for me – a super urban campus situated right in between the much more traditionally college-y University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia’s gorgeous Center City neighborhood. My college experience was not exactly normal and I’m sure all you ladies who went to places like NYU or GWU can relate. Case in point: I can proudly say that I’ve never been to a frat party.
It wasn’t until I headed to grad school at Northwestern that I realized how atypical my experience really was. Being one of the few people I know who spent more time trying out new restaurants than pre gaming football games has presented its share of challenges (see below) but ultimately I wouldn’t change my experience for anything.
1. You’re over your clubbing stage by the time you turn 21
Most of your post-grad friends will get really excited about going to trendy clubs simply because they never had access to them when they were in college. You, on the other hand, will start to find everything about the clubs exhausting after spending your first three years of college frequenting them. You’ll have zero patience for doormen who make you wait in line (probably because you were ballsy enough to simply march up to the front of said line and demand you be let in when you were 18), the music will sound deafeningly loud and everyone you see will remind you too much of the way you were several years ago. By the time you’re the age that most club-goers should be, you’ll be more into nice long dinners or quiet nights at cool lounges.
2. You’ll have nothing to contribute to discussions about college football
It still boggles my mind that people continue to care about college football long after they’ve graduated. I mean, I went to a school without a football team so I guess it makes sense that I’ll never understand what the kind of loyalty is all about. Your friends will talk on and on about scores and stats and your eyes will start to glaze over. But you’ll continue to meet up with them to watch games because it turns out that bar food is really good (you never knew this because you never went to sports bars in college.)
3. You’ll basically forget how to drive
Walking everywhere will quickly become your norm if you go to school in a big city. Like, all your friends will want to drive somewhere that’s a mile away even though you consider that a short little walk. When you’re talking about traveling somewhere that isn’t walking distance (aka over three miles away) you will feel much more comfortable taking public transportation than you will getting behind the wheel.The great part about this, though, is that you’ll never have to go to the gym. Strolling around the city for hours > sweating on the elliptical. On the flip side, this also means you’ll have nothing to say to your friends when they discuss the merits of Crossfit vs. marathon training.
4. You’ll never be able to take anyone who eats at chain restaurants seriously
If you go to college in a big city, you’re going to be surrounded by amazing restaurants. You’ll probably spend most of your money eating delicious meals at trendy restaurants but you’ll also know that super cheap meals from dingy little restaurants or food carts sometimes taste just as good. Either way, living in a big city will make you never want to set foot inside an Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory again. You’ll mentally roll your eyes when someone suggests dinner at a place that feels even remotely suburban.
5. Your timeline will be completely different than anyone else’s
Dinner at 6? Leaving for a night out at 10? Yeah, you don’t roll like that. Living in a big city means pretty much everything happens later. You know that 9 pm is prime dinner time, 10:30 is the earliest you can start pre gaming, and going out before midnight is useless. You are horrified if someone suggests meeting early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and think staying out till 5 am is completely normal because YOLO.
6. You’ll always be wary of homogeneity
One of the most wonderful things about living in a city is that you’re always surrounded by diversity. You’ll meet people from completely different racial, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds all the time and it’ll teach you so many things about the world. You’ll try food from different cultures, you’ll befriend someone with whom you have nothing in common, you’ll develop a sense of wanderlust. These are all great things, but the casualty associated with this is that your patience for people who always stay in their comfort zone will wear thin. You will never, ever be able to date someone who only eats pizza and burgers. You’ll feel uncomfortable when you’re surrounded by people who all look the same and come from the same place. You will be so spoiled by the sheer variety of experiences and personalities you experience in the city that homogeneity will strike you as incredibly boring.
7. You’ll spend way too much money
Especially on fancy dinners, clothes, expensive shoes, travel, booze, events, artisanal coffee, organic groceries and cabs. The struggle is real.
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