This week, my friends from high school conspired to all meet up right here in Madison. My two friends who live here in madison road tripped down to Iowa to pick up Kevin, and Oliver flew in from New York. I was over the moon.
It’s really hard being the first in your friend group to graduate college and have a full time job. All of your friends still live out of state, but you have no time off to visit them anymore.
The flip side of that is that I’ve also forgotten about how everyone reunites in Wisconsin for winter break. Here I am only six months out of college, and I’ve already forgotten the strange phenomenon. No matter where they are. No matter what they’re doing. College kids always seem to come home for Christmas.
It’s not all family, cookies, and turkey either. It’s also getting shit faced with your hometown friends to celebrate another successful semester at college. Everyone wants to drink enough to completely forget the horrors that they experienced away at college.
Think of it as a flush. All of the facts, equations, and stress just swirling down the drain. Leaving the college student feeling refreshed and ready for the next shitload of information. (Yes, I just compared college students to information toilet. Wanna fight about it?)
It was just nice to join them, and enjoy the feeling of being a carefree college student again. Sure I had to take it easy, because I had to work the next morning, but nonetheless, it was cathartic to “act my age” again.
I’m so used to working full time with dreary, over-worked, middle-aged people, sometimes I forget that I’m a twenty something.
And there’s nothing quite like a night of drinking, dancing, and staying up until 3am chatting to remind you that you’re a twenty something.
The night started off with a dinner at the Nitty Gritty, a well known bar downtown. They’re known for their burgers and their alcoholic milkshakes, and the table partook in both. Also, all those who had been missing their Wisconsin roots, had a helping of fried cheese curds. It was more or less a celebration of all that the Wisconsin cows have to offer.
Next, we all went to Alyssa and Sabrina’s apartment to pregame. I mostly just sipped on a bottle of wine. I promised myself beforehand that I wouldn’t do any shots. There was no way I could face a phone shift at 8am the next morning with a hangover. My companions, however, were not inclined to self-restraint that evening.
Not that I could blame them. I’ll never forget the soul crushing amount of stress I endured in college. Who could blame someone for wanting to let loose a little after that three and a half month long nightmare. (Remind me, why am I going back, again?)
After the whole gang was successfully buzzed, we headed out to catch the free, late night, drunk bus to take us out to the bars.
Once we got to Whiskey Jack’s, we all enjoyed quarter rail drinks. Yes, that’s right. A quarter. As in two dimes and a nickel. That’s how much a drink cost. Welcome to Wisconsin bitches. UW-Madison isn’t a top ten party school for nothing.
As you can imagine, we all got quite intoxicated and enjoyed dancing, talking, and meeting other burnt out college students.
One of my friends, Natalie, had a little bit too much fun and ended up dry heaving in the street. We took that, and the increasingly poor music choices from the DJ, to be our cue to leave. We headed to the bar next door for better music and less of a crowd.
However, we didn’t stay long.
Natalie tried to nurse herself back to health with some water at the bar, but she was already too far down the rabbit hole to rescue herself with hydration.
Before long she was dry heaving again in the bathroom. It was time to go.
We were able to take an Uber home without incident. And we even got her resting comfortably in Alyssa’s bed. But before long she was sick again.
Alyssa and Oliver sprung into attack to clean the bedding, bless their hearts. And Sabrina stayed by Natalie’s side holding her hair, rubbing her back, and murmuring reassuring somethings.
Soon enough we were all gathered together again. Natalie passed out again on Alyssa’s bed in clean clothes and sheets. The rest of us surrounding her like she was a campfire. Exchanging stories into the wee hours of the night.
I woke up about four hours later, I woke up without an alarm, got dressed, and headed to work. Meanwhile, the rest of my friends slept in and headed out to breakfast the next day.
I must say though, as pleasant as the night out with friends was, the next morning was bizarre. Almost surreal. It became painfully apparent the dichotomy of the life I’m leading.
I never thought I would miss being a college student, but in that moment, I did.