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February 6, 2015

Laborless Days

-- I will always miss school. This is why.

As my freshman-turned-senior friends walk up Old Main hill this morning, returning to a campus laden with ladies, leisure and learning -- the three keys to 20-year-old contentment -- my heart turns to jealousy.  Was it so long ago that Nate and I made the same trek? (Answer: yes, very much so)11. I wrote most of this last Labor day (hence the title and the nostalgia) when my once 18-year old comrades were returning for their senior year of school. I wanted to make it longer, couldn't come up with anything, then decided to post now (6 months later) because I like the balance concept despite the overall lack of content in this post. I trust you wanted to know all this.

Truth be told, I didn't always long for the start of school.  Through my first 12 years of education the end of summer and return to school was an event to be dreaded, very much the worst day of the calendar.  That mentality switched real quick once I realized that college ≠ school.

If college isn't school, then what is it?  I'm glad you ask.  College is the only time you're equipped to live a life of absurdly perfect balance.

A day consists of 24 hours. By my count, those hours can be broken up in a couple different ways. Here's how it's split for the working dead, aka most people on earth.

    Sleep - 8 hours
    Work - 10 hours
    Eating/Errands - 3 hours
    Education22. Education here means looking at Yahoo or making fun of people on Instagram. - 1/2 hour
    Trying to figure out insurance - 1 hour
    Talking yourself out of suicide - 1 hour
    Crying yourself to sleep - 1/2 hour

Contrast that schedule with the one your 22-year-old cousin enjoys:

    Sleep - 6 hours
    Education/Work - 6 hours
    Eating/Exercise/Errands - 6 hours
    Entertainment - 6 hours

Multiple sixes, in the case above, are not of the Devil, but instead the recipe to the perfect day, one that is achieved over and over during the collegiate period. Why is true balance made possible solely during the years of academic study? Because it's the one time in life when you don't need to meet your basic needs.

Need No. 1 - Sleep
Living on 6 hours of sleep (or much less) is easily achieved while in school, on a repeated basis, due to two factors. 

Factor A: you possess extraordinary levels of energy during the 18 to 23 years and more importantly

Factor B: so much happens at Fantasy Land U that sleep is perennially at the bottom of the entertainment list, as opposed to life as a boring person where rest is your primary mode of fun.

Need No. 2 - Food
In the normal world food is obtained via the exchange of money. In the college world food is obtained by walking around campus and grabbing free stuff.  Or by getting a girlfriend. In addition, the point made above about sleep (not fun for students due to quality and quantity of alternatives) applies to eating as well. All told, food is easy in college which is part of what makes need number three so not needy.

Need No. 3 - Money
In school everyone is poor. And even if everyone isn't poor, everyone at least seems poor. To wit: everyone takes the bus to school because parking is a chore, everyone mooches free food (as described above) and everyone lives in the same junky locales, making you think you're all on even ground. This sense of equality eliminates the need to keep up, which in turn lessons the need to work. Not to mention when everywhere you need to go is accessible via bike, foot, or shuttle your need for money decreases rapidly. 


In all the talk about what makes college great -- the girls, the age, the parties, the learning, the sports -- it's the balance that I miss most.

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