Press play and think about college. Whether you’re currently in college, graduated, recently admitted (WELCOME ED2S!!!!), checking out colleges, or not even close to college. Think about your experience if you’re here (or were), and/or think about college as a concept while listening to the song. Do itttt!
Let me explain, I love this song. I’ve been listening to “Campus” and Vampire Weekend since I was a senior in high school. It recently came up on shuffle when I was hanging out with my best friend and we realized we had similar experiences with the song: every time we heard it, we thought of college. And the funny thing is, we thought different things of the song before and after we got here.
Before coming to Tufts, Rebecca heard "Campus" and thought “THIS IS WHAT MY LIFE IS GOING TO BE LIKE!!” And that life looked nothing like her high school: an elite, alternative/hippie school in San Francisco with a very constricting social scene and a tiny student body. To her, college would be a place where she could be whoever she wanted and experience things that she never got to as a silly teenager—it would be a playground for self-exploration, growth, and independence.
The reality of her college experience for the first couple of years was everything she’d hoped for. She enjoyed growing in an environment that knew nothing about her—a place where she could pick who she wanted to be and everyone was eager to make connections and friends. She loved everything about that experience and everything that embodied it: the dorms, solo cups, shower caddies, and trays in the dining halls.
As we progressed in our college careers, what she heard in the song shifted. Instead of “THIS IS WHAT MY LIFE IS GOING TO BE LIKE!!” she heard the realities of college. She heard heartbreak, the shame after a relationship goes sour, but always the bouncy casualness that these four years inevitably bring to anyone that journeys into the college experience.
Personally, I heard "Campus" in high school and saw… a campus. I had pictures in my head of the Res and Academic Quads, dorms, and dining halls. To me, what stood out above everything else was the routine described in the song, pulling on shirts and sleeping in balconies after class. I yearned for that routine, that casualness. I wanted to be a part of that so badly, I wanted it to be such a part of me that I wanted to take it for granted like I thought the singer did. And I remember that what I wanted the most out of college was an intellectually charged environment. I wanted the deep conversations and crazy classes about Russian literature because I never felt my Florida public school ever satisfied my intellectual curiosity.
Today I hear "Campus" and instead of pictures, I see memories. I see me running to class in Barnum and trying not to be late because my advisor taught the class. I remember that night my then-boyfriend and I laid in the Res Quad looking at the stars (judge me). I remember that one time the kid that lived across the hall from me freshman year left a trail of puke from his room to the bathroom during fraternity rush and the many times my friends stole loaves of challah from the dining halls. All of these experiences encompass what the reality of college was for me: a time to fully experience life and let those experiences shape me. I came here looking for intellectual satisfaction and found that because intelligence abounds and intellectual is the status quo, I could let other aspects of myself blossom. I became a much more fun, happy, and well-rounded person here. A person I would have never expected to become.
So now that you’ve heard "Campus" and know our stories, I want to hear from you! What are/were your expectations of college? If you’re in college or graduated, what was the reality? When you hear Campus, what do you think? Do you have any questions or anxieties if you're on your way to college? Anything I can help with? Let me know in the comments! I'm super curious to hear your thoughts!