We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: 7 Unexpected Things You’ll Miss in College

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As I lay tucked beneath my turquoise comforter, looking out my window at the falling snow tracing the sidewalk and listening to a symphony of coughs and sneezes from my roommate in our 10 by 12-foot dorm room, all I can dream of is home. Better than home: I can’t stop thinking about a nice bubble bath and real chicken noodle soup (no ramen or microwaveable B.S.). Sure, we all miss our families, friends, pets, home-cooked meals and beds. And if you don’t feel the same, you’re lying. I mean, really— do you enjoy using plastic spoons to eat Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food at 1am? I didn’t think so.

1. Driving a Car

Yes, I’m a culprit of blasting my music and pretending I’m at a summer festival while I’m driving. When I got to college, I quickly realized there was no place for me to let loose and jam to “My Humps” or rap to the whole “Molly Cyrus” song. Besides having a safe haven to release my inner Beyoncé, my car is pretty symbolic of my independence. Now, I rely on the bus system or even worse, my own two feet. Everyone says that going to college makes you more independent. While that may be true, I miss the freedom of not walking to CVS to buy groceries. For now, I guess I’ll have to stick to Saturday night jam sessions in a fraternity basement.

2. Quality toilet paper

I’ve never craved two-ply more in my life. Watching Charmin commercials has become torture and going to the bathroom is just shy of a death trap. I can barely rip the toilet paper off before it disintegrates in my hands and Lord knows coating the bowl with this dingy one-ply toilet paper is no guarantee I won’t still contract something. I’ve learned to adapt to the squatting method and now have quads of steel. Still, I’d prefer some nice two-ply toilet paper any day. Sometimes I have dreams of the bathroom back home (and yes, that’s just as sad as it sounds).

3. Shower Hour

If you ever went to summer camp, you’ve got an idea of what college showers are like: standing upright in an XL coffin, these stalls allow no room for accidents. If you drop your razor, the chance of picking it up without some body part scraping the shower walls coated in who-the-hell-knows-what is severely slim. And as the cherry on top, your days of shower-hour American Idol are over. You don’t want “Excessive Shower Singing” on your record from an overzealous RA. So while you’re home, I suggest you take as many showers as you can because once you get to college, you’d rather shower in perfume than in the communal bathrooms.

4. Real Silverware

When I’m hungry, I’m hangry—and have zero tolerance for waiting. When I’m looking to spread peanut butter on a cracker, my plastic knife almost always crumbles under my hungry wrath. When I’m trying to scoop ice cream out of a mini tub of Ben and Jerry’s, a plastic spoon is completely unreliable. Moral of the story, trade your paper and plastic utensils for some silverware that’s actually silver. You (not to mention your judge-y tree-hugging friends) will be forever grateful.

5. Wearing Cute Outfits

I’ve been convincing myself since first semester that I’d actually try to look cute for classes (instead of looking like the slob I was in high school). I would finally wear the leather-fringe jacket I bought over break instead of my black, puffy North Face that disguises me as a life-size Jiggly Puff. In high school, you neglect to recognize the convenience of having all your classes in one building. In college, your classes are scattered across campus. So when I leave for my 11 a.m. class in a light sweater and boots—unaware it’s 27 degrees and about to start raining—I’ll be stuck that way until I trudge home later that night. In college, no matter how hard you try, comfort always wins. So load up on your fuzzy socks, sweatshirts and gloves—you’ll need them much more than another going out dress.

6. Waking Up and Coming Home to Someone

Waking up at 6 a.m. for school every morning is a now unimaginable. But walking downstairs to see my dad eating breakfast at the counter and my mom at the stove offering to make me breakfast, on the other hand, is a scene I miss dearly. Nowadays, I wake up to my roommate either deep in sleep or already in class. My “good morning” comes from Dwong (the man that cleans those horrid bathrooms mentioned above) and my “goodnight” comes in the form of my roommate’s snores. The only time I’m asked about my day by someone who actually gives a sh*t is when my mom or dad calls. In high school, I longed for the days that I would finally be in charge of my own schedule and my own curfew, but now I just want someone to sit with while I drink my morning coffee.

7. Little Kids

Standing at 5’1,” being the tallest in a room is something I’ll never experience. The only exception to this rule is when I’m around kids. Never did I think I’d admit to missing the crying shrieks of a 4-year-old or the constant nagging of any toddler. Surrounded by stressed out 20-somethings, hungry for sky-high GPA’s and a future six-figure salary, though, makes it easy to miss a little kid’s unparalleled innocence and joy for life. Kids dream of becoming astronauts or the president—reminding us “adults” that life should be fueled by passion, not payment. Such a profound message only comes in this shrunken, snot-nosed form, making children one of the most precious things you don’t realize you’ll miss in college. That is unless anyone on your hall pulls a ‘Teen Mom,” but that’s highly discouraged.

Sara is a freshman broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. Her habits include cheating on healthy eating, self-effacement, and being real. She defines herself by heavy doses of grit and wit, qualities she hopes to take full advantage of as the future Ellen DeGeneres-Chelsea Handler combo.

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