I’m entering my “messy era.”

As a not-so-reformed “mom friend,” some of my wildest moments from the past two years of college include sitting on my common room floor eating dinner with my dad and taking shots of hot sauce in the PepsiCo Plaza. At least, until the past couple weeks.

Post-Welcome Week — for which I worked as an Orientation Leader, day in and day out, for all nine days — I needed a breather. However, I am also a victim to the grind (which never stops) and my subsequent two weeks were filled with a cappella auditions, the start of classes, and having an existential crisis over being constantly and actively perceived by a multitude of first years. So, I swallowed my pride, and pulled up to a frat party or two to get my dance on.

When you’re known for being composed and then suddenly show up to bust it down at a frat party, a couple things happen. One: everyone you know who sees you there points at you and gapes as if you were an exotic animal on exhibit. Two: you suddenly become incredibly self-conscious of all your possible actions at any given moment in the enclosed microcosm of society that exists solely in a frat basement at midnight. Three: after you focus on enjoying the moment, the euphoria of how fun it is to be young, dumb, and full of stupid hits you like a dump truck filled with bricks.

Now, I’m not necessarily advocating that you shed your cardigans and penny loafers for crop tops and fanny packs, but there is something about letting yourself be a stereotypical college student that I’ve now come to appreciate. The freedom and shelter that the collegiate environment provides is the perfect stomping ground for EDM remixes, making out with strangers, and learning about yourself — and those things aren’t as bad as you might automatically think. 

After years of my identity being consumed by my inability to let loose, the idea of having to become a real functional adult post-college without any classically stupid experiences — such as having half of your hair fall out after bleaching it platinum blonde in one night, which I do not recommend — is terrifying. That isn’t to say that everyone should feel obligated to make dumb-seeming decisions, but I don’t want to regret not having experiences due to needing to take myself too seriously.

I’m a staunch advocate of constantly learning in ways that aren’t directly attributed to your degree plan. Joining clubs you have no background in, taking interesting classes, and exploring the Rochester area are great options, and now, I’d be inclined to throw in some more surface-level stupid things into the mix. Drive around at midnight screaming at the top of your lungs. Stay up until sunrise with a friend or two. Bodyroll like your life depends on it. We’re here to live, to learn, and to experience. We might as well embrace it.

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