A female student is sitting outside her college building
Image source: https://www.healthline.com/

A post in an online community recently stirred up a lively discussion, with the original poster expressing a deep longing for their days spent living in a college dorm. They reminisce about a time they initially found limiting, with restrictions on candles, music, and carpeting. However, in their current life stage, they yearn for the community, events, and convenience that the college campus provided.

Woman shrugging
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Key Takeaways

  • The unique community of a college campus fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie, which is difficult to replicate in the “real world.”
  • The freedom and proximity to peers are highly cherished aspects of college life but are often only appreciated retrospectively.
  • Not everyone misses their college years or dorm life, with some expressing relief to move on to different stages of life.
  • The college experience varies significantly for each individual, and factors such as housing choices, college age, and personal circumstances can influence the nostalgia associated with this period.

One commenter added to this, pointing out a profound insight that many individuals don’t necessarily miss college but rather the easily accessible community, social events, and opportunities for growth that campus life affords. This sentiment resonates with many young adults who miss the sense of community and convenience they enjoyed while on campus.

Cherishing the Freedom and Close-Knit Bonds

In addition to the facilities and convenience of college life, the unique bonding experience of living within walking or biking distance of friends is another aspect that many miss post-college. One participant aptly expressed that this experience is difficult to replicate unless one is fortunate enough to deeply connect with their neighbors.

On the other hand, not everyone looks back on their college years with such fondness. A soon-to-be graduate commented on their anticipation for life after college, seeing the campus lifestyle as overrated. They acknowledged the experiences and opportunities college life provided, but they also expressed readiness to move into the next phase of life, hinting at the nuanced feelings many harbors towards their college years.

Diverse College Experiences and Their Influence

Nostalgia for college life and experiences can greatly vary from person to person. A couple of contributors shared their perspectives, citing off-campus housing as their sweet spot. This arrangement allowed for the balance between freedom and proximity to friends. One participant described this period as a special kind of freedom and community that they fondly look back on.

However, a contributor who graduated just before the onset of the pandemic did not miss the group housing aspect of college life. Yet, they reflected on their early twenties with a certain longing, showcasing the complexities of post-college emotions and experiences.

Feeling a Sense of Loss

An intriguing aspect of the nostalgic feelings surrounding college life emerged from the experiences of those who felt they missed out on the ‘typical’ college experience. A significant voice in this conversation belonged to an individual who began their college journey later in life.

This person reflected upon the missed opportunities and experiences they had envisioned for their college years. They never had the chance to experience dorm life, an aspect of college many consider fundamental. Instead of shared bathrooms and communal living rooms, they navigated an apartment lifestyle, juggling the adult responsibilities of rent and bills with their academic commitments.

Moreover, their college experience lacked the deep connections with lifelong friends that often arise from the shared experiences, struggles, and triumphs of college life. Instead of late-night study sessions and impromptu dorm parties, their college memories were more solitary, underlining the sense of isolation they felt during this period.

Even in their dreams, these individuals envisioned an alternate college reality filled with friendships, adventures, and lasting memories. They devoured books about college friend groups and even found solace in games that simulated the college experience, further highlighting their feelings of loss.

Students are having fun at college
Fun-filled college life is what creates lasting memories. Image source: obu.edu

This poignant reflection was a stark reminder that not everyone’s college experience fits the traditional narrative. Their longing for the full college experience that they believe they missed resonates with many who found themselves on a less-trodden path through their college years.

Indeed, the experience was such that they expressed a strong desire to ensure their potential future child would have the chance to fully embrace college life if they wished. This reflection is a testament to the deep emotional impact of their own college experience, emphasizing their longing for what could have been.

This individual’s feelings of loss and longing contribute to the multi-dimensional spectrum of post-college sentiments, adding depth and diversity to the pool of experiences and the ensuing nostalgia.


The thoughtful discussion triggered by the original post underscores the complexities of post-college experiences. While some individuals miss the community-centric atmosphere of dorm life and the conveniences offered by campus life, others express relief at progressing to the next stage. These varying perspectives highlight the deeply personal and multifaceted nature of college experiences and the resulting nostalgia.

Related stories:

The “Fun-Filled” College Life Is Just An Illusion? A Personal Perspective of A Student Who Struggles To Fit In

STEM Student Juggles Academics, Work, and Social Life
The Post-Pandemic Puzzle: High School Diplomas Rise Amid Declining Test Scores and Attendance

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