Remember how we all couldn’t wait to grow up when we were kids? I remember thinking how nice it’d be to earn my own money and buy my own things and decorate my first house without my parents’ constant nagging. I bet you’re thinking that this article is going to be about how growing up is a lie and kids should just stay kids in their Rainbowland with close to zero worries. While I do think being a child is a magic of its own, I wouldn’t want to go back to being 8 and innocent.
I’m turning 20 soon and I’m actually perfectly fine, happy even, with the idea of growing up. Of course there are a few things that I wish I could retain from childhood, like clear baby skin, having enough sleep and not using my own money because damn, earning is not that fun after all. But that’s not what I’m about to discuss, either. To be more precise, this article is about the things that make us miss high school because nobody warned us about them when we signed up for our crazily expensive tertiary education that probably took up half (or all) of our parents’ life savings. So college students, this one is specially dedicated to you.
1) You’ll feel really bad for skipping classes
Yup, the picture speaks for itself. I remember being quite an avid school-skipper in high school. No, I don’t mean play truant, I mean not attending the whole day (with my mother’s permission, of course). Remember all those Hari Guru, Hari Merdeka, Hari Murid-Murid, Hari Koperasi, Gotong-Royong sambil Menyanyi Lagu days? I never attended any of those because a) it’s a waste of time and b) even my mother thinks they are a waste of time.
Now that I’m in university, even the mere mention of the words “skip” and “class” would result in an eruption of volcanic nags from both my parents. “Do you know how much your fees are? It’s RM50,000 per semester. That means one lecture costs RM555.” But even if they don’t nag me, I actually feel bad. Like, guilty, even though no one is judging me for it because after all, I already paid for it!
2) Being broke is a norm
If you’re a fellow college student, the word “broke” is used so frequently, you’re starting to mistake it for your name. But seriously though, being broke is a real crisis faced by millions of college students all over the globe. Honestly, I wonder why nobody is doing anything about it. We are a bunch of non-working students who has to pay for overpriced food, overpriced tuition fees, overpriced rent, overpriced petrol, overpriced toll and just about overpriced everything. Let’s not forget our student loans that will drown us in debt in the future. A little help here, anyone?!
3) You’ll miss your high school uniform
Okay, this may not apply to all but it definitely applies to quite a number of girls. I remember complaining about how our high school pinafore and baju kurung were so unglam and I hated how stupid strict the school rules were like disallowing girls to use coloured rubber bands because wow, I didn’t know a red rubber band is a national hazard.
I take it all back now. I am even willing to admit that I miss those days of unglam pinafores, white shoes and socks and black or blue rubber bands. Dressing up for college may be fun during the first couple of months but it’s not easy. After a while, you’re bound to struggle with “I wore this shirt twice last week” and “I need more new clothes” and then you decide to just go with a t-shirt, shorts and slippers because you need more new clothes.
4) You’ll look like shit sometimes but that’s okay
To all those college girls who has perfect makeup and hair every single day, my only question is, “How even?!” Don’t get me wrong, I still put in effort in dressing up and looking decent but there are days where I look like I just rolled out of bed and those days happen to be days with 8am classes. For what it’s worth, a lot of people look like they just rolled out of bed too, but then you see a few girls strutting around like they came from a fashion shoot and you can’t help but feel super inferior and self-conscious. You’ll start reminiscing about those high school days where everybody looked like they just rolled out of bed and still half-asleep because c’mon, who can be fully awake at 7.30am? The best thing is that you don’t even feel like you look like shit.
5) Sleep is unheard of
Yes, getting up at 6am for assembly on a Monday is quite possibly the most gruesome thing in the world but you know what’s worse than that? Driving 24km and paying toll for a two hour lecture that will probably end in 30 minutes.
Don’t even get me started on the sleep part. Sleep? What’s dat? Is it the thing you do when you close your eyes and be dead for a few hours at night? Hmm, sounds familiar but I kind of forgot how to do that already. Diploma days were still bearable for me but ever since I started my Degree course, I feel like a bad juggler who’s juggling too many plates at once. With the never ending assignments, presentations, quizzes, exams and the fact that I would still like to maintain my social life, I have no choice but to kiss sleep a very sad goodbye.
6) Group assignments will make you cry
To all graduating high school students, BEWARE! I repeat, BEWARE. Approach this area with caution. There are dangerous creatures in this habitat and you do not want to be a prey to an aggressive predator. I would say group assignment is the one thing nobody warned you about in high school. First of all, there are a gazillion of them. Secondly, it makes you lose all humanity in people. Freeloaders? Check. The one that talks a lot but never does work? Check. Person who does last minute work that’s not even half acceptable? Check. The one who never responds and might as well be mute? Check. If you find a good group of people, stick to them, hold on to them and do whatever you can to keep them, kid.
College life may be the death of you but you will also hear working adults telling you to cherish it and make the most out of it because it just might be the best years of your life. And you know what? I completely agree. Yes, it sucks the life out of you with group assignments, sleepless nights, never having enough money and many, many more, but you also get to experience meeting new people, have a new level of freedom if you’re studying abroad, spontaneous yumcha sessions after class, parties, and good friends whom you will treasure for life. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world.