St. Olaf Sentiments: March 18, 2016

You only live once in a college dorm. Only once will you pack up your home and be dumped in an unfamiliar building with a random and most likely peculiar roommate. Despite your best intentions and the liberal application of Febreeze, a good whiff of your room offers a bouquet of dirty laundry, leftover pizza and that mysterious stain on the floor. The bathrooms down the hall are made up of shower stalls covered in hair, two-ply toilet paper and “feminine napkin” goody bags. You can’t seem to decide if the boys are actually college students or just overgrown toddlers. You’ve been locked out of your room for the third time this week, and you still haven’t figured out how to gracefully poop in public.

But, you only live once in a college dorm.

You only eat once in a college cafeteria. Only once will buffets be the main source of nutrition with their array of questionable meats and carbs as far as the eye can see. The evidence of worms camping in the lettuce has appeared on more than one occasion. There is a versatile selection of three vegetables, and – oh my God – did you see that chocolate cake in the dessert fridge? The noodles are bland. The tortilla line has lost its sense of spice. The line for a burger wraps around the building, and the salad option is too healthy for your taste – looks like another pizza night for you.

But, you only eat once in a college cafeteria.

You only learn once in a college classroom, unless, of course, your bed holds you hostage. Only once will you willingly wake up and trek across campus to your lecture through the arctic tundra known locally as winter in Minnesota. The first day of classes is swamped with syllabi and the looming doom dates of exams, papers and finals. Your award-winning procrastination skills are pushed to their limits on the daily, and most days you turn in your homework with an “A for effort” mentality. The professors have office hours and are more than willing to help, but, let’s be honest, you’re so beyond confused that you don’t know what to say. You’re receiving grades that you thought only existed in movies and your GPA has never been more droopy. The language requirement is slowly killing your soul. Lab is three hours too long. Math is increasing exponentially in impossibility. Science is becoming more esoteric by the lecture, and you’re quickly realizing that your writing is on par with that of a second grader’s.

But you only learn once in a college classroom.

You only live once on a college campus. From the sweat-drenched Play Fair to movie nights on the futon with your new-found squad and every freshman pound in between, only once do you partake in college life. Only once will you be surrounded by thousands of broke young adults happily lying in hammocks or tossing a frisbee on the first warm spring day. During the week, the student body retreats to the depths of Rolvaag to study or procrastinate with one more episode of “New Girl.” The nights are filled with card games, a need to go to the gym, movie marathons, music performances, athletic events, another loss for your intramural, ice-cream to celebrate said loss followed by an amateur game of pool and, perhaps at 10:00 p.m., you will finally start your homework.

But you only live once on a college campus.

Even though they’re not perfect, these college years are the only ones you get, so live them up because YOLO.