Eight things traditional college students take for granted

Leah Fleischel, Blogger

Here we are, halfway through the semester looking at the end of week 8. While most college students are taking midterms, it’s just another week at work for me and other full-time interns. Try to keep your envy to a minimum, because one of the things I’ve discovered while working is that any day can be test day. You never know what news might break or project might pop up, and while it’s exciting, it can also be stressful.

With scheduling right around the corner, I’ve been forced to think about what it’s going to be like heading back to campus in January and resuming my full-time student status. While I’m earning 18 credits through my internship, online classes, and independent study, it still feels like a totally different ball game. I wouldn’t trade my semester at Voice of America or The Washington Center for anything, but while all of you are on campus pulling your hair out over midterms, take a moment to consider the good things about college.

1. Attendance Choices

If you’re lying in bed one morning and asking yourself the ever-important question of “to skip or not to skip?” then you’re already afforded a luxury you won’t get while working. I’m not one to skip class, but it was always nice to have the option if I needed to cram, a story broke, or I was feeling particularly under the weather. This option allows you to prioritize classes as the work load changes throughout the semester, while here the work load is important every day. Class is important, but part of the freedom of college is that it’s also optional.

Pro-tip for motivating yourself to go to class – calculate how much money you spend per class by dividing the amount you pay for credits by how many you have. That’s been my motivation a number of times, because 50 minutes aren’t worth losing $100+.

2. Down time between classes

Or as I like to call it, nap time. Some days I would give almost anything to be able to walk back to my room and take a snooze, but the option sadly just isn’t there. You don’t get it all the time, but when you do, take it and cherish it. Down time can also be a great time to get other work done.

But seriously, cherish your naps.

3. Change of scenery throughout the day

My cubicle is nice and all, but I  miss changing rooms and taking a little walk across campus every hour or so to go to a different class. It really breaks up the day, gives you an opportunity to stretch your legs and experience the great outdoors. It seems like a weird thing to miss, but when you’re rotating between the same computers/studios, the switching up of scenery  is a welcome thought.

Now come February when Polar Vortex Round II strikes I’ll be missing being confined to this lovely and warm building, but on beautiful fall days it’s a perk that’s sorely missed.

4. Seeing a multitude of people

My co-workers and fellow interns are great. This is by far the best working experience I’ve ever had and I will be really sad when I  have to leave. However, I occasionally miss knowing the multitude of people I’ll get to see on any given day and having class with my friends. There’s always that one class you get to look forward to solely because of the people in it, and while I look forward to coming to work every day I miss that classroom setting.

I am fortunate enough to have class with some pretty cool people at the Associated Press building Monday nights, but the conference room feel still takes away from the classroom setting. Maybe I’m just getting nostalgic now.

5. Food that you don’t have to make or pack

Today when I took my  bread out of the cabinet to make yet another sandwich for lunch and discovered it was moldy, I found myself wishing so badly that there was a RoMo’s at my work. It’s so nice to be able to grab something when you’re hungry instead of planning it out for hours later.

And for goodness sake, someone please go have chicken salad for me.

6. Having a syllabus

It is so nice to be able to take all the syllabi from different classes and put major projects/exams on your calendar far in advance so when you know impending doom is coming in your life. Scheduled doom is a lot better than spontaneous doom.

7. Always having someone to talk to about quarter-life crises

I don’t know about you, but I have these a lot and they increase the closer to graduation I get. Having professor’s offices I can always go to so I can figure my life out or knowing I can always go to the newsroom and let out all the feelings is a great safety net for those random bouts of stress.

8. Being a college student

From sporting events to study sessions with friends to club meetings to random late nights and everything in between, being away has showed me college is truly the best time of your life. I feel so lucky that I could have this realization before I graduated so I can go back and take advantage of these things and so much more. It’s easy to get grouchy from the stress and deadlines, but try to take it all in – there’s a lot to be thankful for!

(Look back soon for things I love about interning full-time and living in the nation’s capital, because there’s a list for that too!)