Last week I went to my sister’s graduation. It was the first time I’d been on a college campus in years, so I immediately thought of I Wish I Could Go Back to College from Avenue Q. I had not seen the song since I was an undergrad, and most of the number was pretty irrelevant to me at that point. Now, armed with a B.A. and two years in the real world, I’ve decided to listen to I Wish I Could Go Back to College from Avenue Q again. Except this time, I’ll be able to do a little reflecting and check out how much sense it makes with my post-grad perspective.
One of the first lines is “What would I give to go back and live in a dorm with a meal plan again!” After a couple of years of struggling to cook for myself, often yielding to cheap take out, a meal plan sounds pretty great. The dorm room on the other hand, I’ll pass on. Rent may have been a non-issue for me during college, but I’ll happily pay to avoid the incessant noise, messes and communal bathrooms that come along with a dorm room.
The next verse is “In college you know who you are/You sit in the quad, and think, “Oh my God!/I am totally gonna go far!”” This one was pretty true for me, especially at the beginning of college. I knew I had four years of fun ahead of me, minimal responsibility, and plenty of new friends to make. I think that I Wish I Could Go Back to College from Avenue Q really captures the sense of ambition, idealism and optimism that me and many of my friends had in college.
Princeton goes on to sing, “I wanna go back to my room and find a message in dry-erase pen on the door!” That sounds nice in theory, but honestly, most of the dry erase boards I saw on doors were filled with inappropriate cartoons, profanity, or some mix of the two. However, Avenue Q is over a decade old and the characters would have been in college even longer ago, so I’ll cut them some slack. I bet my almost obsolete whiteboard would have been much more exciting back then, before everyone had cell phones.
The lines “I wish I could drop a class/or get into a play/or change my major/ or f**ck my T.A” give plenty of things to think about. I don’t have any classes, so the first part is kind of a moot point. I also have no idea how I would get into a play in the real world, but I certainly imagine it would be harder than it would’ve been in college. As for the T.A. part – I went to a small school where everyone knew everyone (and still does), so I’ll pass on commenting about that on the internet.
While I do sometimes wish I could go back to college, whenever I contemplate it I come to the same conclusion that the song does: “But if I were to go back to college/ Think what a loser I’d be/I’d walk through the quad/And think “Oh my God…”/ These kids are so much younger than me.” This completely checks out in my book. I remember when I was growing up not being able to tell the difference between college kids and people in their 30’s. Now I can hardly tell the difference between college students and kids who are too young to get their driver’s licenses. However, I’m sure they would be able to tell I am too old for college. All in all, I miss parts of college, but when I think about how pathetic it would be to go back for a meal plan and to shed some responsibility, I realize I am pretty darn happy in the real world.