It's the memories – not the education – that make college a worthwhile experience. My freshman year feels like just yesterday, and it was a great precursor to the last four years.
Pritchard, MacDonald and Schoellkopf Halls all look better from the outside, and that's not saying much. They also made living in Goodyear Hall seem luxurious, despite our repulsive, Lysol-sprayed bathroom, ancient workout gym with broken windows, and grotesque kitchens that smelled like international potluck dinners at all hours of the day.
Living on South Campus freshman year, however, was the best decision I never made. Although UB alums told me to switch to North, I ignored their advice – mostly because I was too lazy to request a switch – and it worked out for the best.
Every day I would come home from class and find my room unlocked. Inside, a friend would be laying on my bed, another sitting at my desk, and three or four playing video games.
Did we ever lock our door that year? Probably not, and it came back to bite us in the ass this year when we caught two teenagers burglarizing our apartment. But that's a story for another time.
Getting into dinner was always an adventure. Inevitably, someone would leave his UB card in my room, would be too lazy to run back upstairs to get it, and have to James-Bond sneak into the dining hall for a delicious bowl of cereal.
Easy as it was most of the time, Marie, the veteran Campus Dining and Shops employee, would always catch the forgetful culprit and lecture him for a few minutes, staring him in the eyes, giving him the wrath of guilt for his smokey memory.
Drinking was a process as well.
After walking out of Goodyear Hall with empty backpacks, showing the Tops' staff our fake IDs, stuffing the 30-racks into our now-full bags, and sneaking back into the room, we'd still have to rearrange the furniture to set up beer pong and make sure we didn't leave any shoes in the hallway as to attract RAs.
Thinking back, the RAs didn't like us much. We were always loud and hardly sober, and we used to borrow the lounge furniture when friends would sleep over so they had a "comfortable" couch to sleep on. The next day, a sign would read: "Do NOT Remove Lounge Furniture!"
Oh, those were the days.
Stumbling home from parties in the Heights; trekking through the winter snow, burning because it was so cold; passing back IDs to get into the bar; running the basketball courts Friday nights at Clark Hall; and attending class when it fit into our schedules.
Unrightfully, but thankfully so, we all ended up with GPAs over 3.0 and memories that we'll never forget (although we don't remember parts of many of the nights).
Even though conventional learning takes place in the classroom, the real learning goes on elsewhere. College is a time to discover yourself, make memories with friends, and learn to want to learn.
My time at UB, in that respect, has been successful. Although I don't know what I'm doing when I graduate, I had an incredible four years, met people who will stay with me the rest of my life (hopefully), and feel ready to take on the "real world."
"…Even if we did get a little bit too drunk."