Remember freshman year? When the bar was like a new jungle full of attractive apes and other various primates as you traded your fake ID and your dignity for access to a watering hole of dollar beers in tiny cups and tequila shooters à la Mean Girls?
Safely swatting away unwelcome male species, you braved the winter months in your tiny clothes and managed to hunt down your post-bar pizza. You made the long journey home to the fam where you fed on pepperoni and ranch sauce like they were the fruits of the earth, occasionally picking crumbs out of drunk Lisa’s hair in a motherly fashion because she was too intoxicated to notice.
Yes, we were a new species in this jungle, exploring everything it had to offer and it sure was wild. Things didn’t even stop there. Sophomore year we learned the ropes, making a few too many mistakes and hanging with the wrong male gorillas before realizing they are all just small monkeys looking out for their own banana.
Junior year we moved up ranks in the watering hole, knowing where to go for the best drink deals and the best route home to hunt some grub up on the way. Finally, making it to senior year, warranting us the kings of the jungle, protective of our favorite spots and wary of the newcomers flailing their arms around and swapping spit on the dance floor like it’s mating season.
Fact is, through these transitions we hardly realize how different it will be when we leave the jungle we call home and we leave the troop of animals we call our wild little family. For one,
You know the ins and outs of these parts.
You literally know the quickest way to the bathroom once you step inside those bar doors. You know which bartender to go to that might give you a little extra jagger in your Jägerbombs and you know the best route home (including which drunk food spot to hit up) that will cost you the lowest taxi fare for each and every bar in that town. Hell, you even have your favorite taxi driver on speed dial.
Your troop will never be as big.
The great thing about a jungle is that your troop all lives together in your own natural habitat. You’ve created a home out of the shambles of student housing and although it may be a little dirty – let’s face it – we are literally living in filth, it’s home. Your troop pres together in no less than 20 and all bombards to the watering hole together, never leaving one behind. No other place will be filled with so many of my wild companions living right there at my door step.
Nowhere else will you see as many familiar faces.
By junior and senior year, you are walking into that place expecting to know 80% of the people there. You know Kevin the sloth from your Econ class and embrace him in a fit of glorious recognition (mostly because you’re drunk) and get to meet another in his troop, Ryan with the incredible and sexy lion’s mane. This is where you meet these friends of friends, you get to see the males you spotted working out at the gym, and you can hope that you might see the cutie you spotted walking on campus earlier with a fair amount of certainty, because “EVERYONE goes to The Bayou on Friday nights”.
There will never be quite the same gossip.
The day after a bar night is literally FOR lounging in your tree hammock, occasionally taking bites of various harvested snacks (Wendy’s), sipping on healing nectars (Mimosas) and attempting to recall the events of the night through blurry memories. Best part is, you know everyone in this jungle, who they are mating with and who they preying on. Your knowledge after 4 years of the people in your inner circles is enormous and never again will you be able to speculate about the couple across the bar because you know who Taylor hooked up with in sophomore year and how pissed Caitlyn will be if she knew they were together now.
The fun doesn’t have to end of course, we will continue to be wild into our 20’s, no one is taming us yet.
Although with graduation, with a move, and with new surroundings, our friendly and comfortable jungles will transform to more of a zoo. There are new faces, bigger habits and new watering holes in our future, but nothing will be quite the same as the jungle that built us.
Featured Image via Unsplash