Senior Column: Embrace being a kid in college


Courtesy of Sydney Gabrielson

Sydney Gabrielson, Contributing Writer

Quarantine has ended many things for me: college (obviously), living in Tuscaloosa, my social life, but most importantly, my childhood. A lot of people think college is about becoming an adult; learning how to function in the real world, a bridge between being a kid and the rest of your life. On the contrary, I think college is the first and last time you can be a big kid.

A few months ago, I received the best compliment of my life: “Syd, I enjoy always feeling like a kid with you.” I’d like to think this feeling developed because I’m hilarious, and children laugh an average of 300-400 times a day compared to the menial 17.5 times that an adult does. Thus, I make people laugh more and de facto I’m hilarious. But, I’ve accepted the fact that this feeling developed because I frequently act like a 4-year-old girl. I overshare about my life: Many people are privy to my ever-changing “love of my life” and receive weekly updates about a Snapchat or one-worded text that proves he is the one. I tell stories that make no sense and tend not to have a plot. I’m extremely thankful to those who indulge me when they answer a FaceTime or walk around the Quad with me pretending to listen. I also have very little, if any boundaries. Many pictures on my camera roll are those I have texted to my parents weekly on a Wednesday evening between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. They are sent from the back room of Gallettes with a $5 bottle of Pinot Grigio at my side. Unfortunately, my time in college has come to an end, and I must hang up the Huggies Diaper phrase “I’m a big kid now.”

Now, I must be an adult. I can’t hit up Chick-fil-a, Starbucks and Panda Express in a matter of minutes. Now, I can’t wear shorts and an oversized t-shirt every day. Business casual might look cute at J. Crew, but after three weeks it gets old. 

I believe our generation has a tendency of growing up too fast. But I plead, don’t grow up in college. It’s your last opportunity to be a kid. Last semester, one beautiful Saturday night I was hanging out at Moe’s BBQ. I suggested moving to The Booth, objectively the best bar in Tuscaloosa. When I suggested the move, a guy in my group glared at me and said, “I only go to The Booth to network. I’m not in the mood.” This mindset is consistent with a 45-year-old politician, not someone whose largest responsibility is waking up for a 50-minute lecture at noon the next morning.

We as college students have minor responsibilities – we don’t work full time, we don’t have kids, yet we have full autonomy of how we spend our day. Toddlers and college students spend their time in relatively the same ways: playing, making new friends, expanding their brain capacity and taking daily naps. Embrace being a kid for four more years. Adulthood is boring. Maybe I say this because the first six weeks of my experience as an adult has been during a world pandemic, but I’ll still argue that it’s lame. Spend your time at UA as a big kid – you never know when you’ll be forced to grow up. As the great Dr. Seuss said, “Adults are just outdated children.”

Sydney Gabrielson is a graduate of the class of 2020. She majored in finance, mathematics and economics and is working in investment banking at Morgan Stanley after graduation.