By staff writer Tyler Haggard

Here I sit, idly thumbing through my vast catalog of digital snuff films while occasionally dragging on a cigarette laced with heroin laced with gunpowder.

And I says to myself, I says, “The Dude, what does it feel like to be heading back to The College?”

Heading back to college is something that is usually only experienced thrice by anyone who chooses to drag their ass through the university-based academic process. Going to college for the first time holds a queasy charm of its own, filled with wonder and curiosity and heroin laced with gunpowder. Leaving college is, by all accounts, roughly analogous to having a large portion of your own soul removed forcibly from your very being with a rusty pole saw. But what about heading back to the university after a summer-long absence? This, noble readers, is the emotion that I now choose to mull over with little eloquence, relevance, or taste.

Talking about what heading back to college means for me would be unfair and biased, seeing as though I had the latter half of my first semester shot down in a… blaze… of glory. In short, I was kicked out of the dorms for smoking pot. But I am back now, as a result of hard work and guile. Let us not speak of it again, especially in front of grandma, who still does not know.

If I was a guessing man, and The Dude is most certainly that, I would surmise that the point I am about to reach—the reunification between New Sophomore and Old College—is the most significant. New Sophomore has successfully completed his (we all know women don't count) first year of his collegiate foray, and is headed back to school now knowing what lies in wait for him. He knows the structure of the classes; the schedule he is expected to keep; which C-Stores can be fooled by a fake ID that might as well be drawn on construction paper. He feels as though he now is well acquainted with the animal of college, and can therefore make the best of his time therein. New Sophomore has not the cool arrogance or swagger that pervades New Junior, not the jaded ennui that so envelops New Senior, nor the mouse-like skittishness that follows New Freshman like so many horned owls.

In short, New Sophomore is ready as hell to get back. After a summer filled with dead-end jobs, questionable/awkward reunions with old high school friends, and weeknight beer-guzzling (and the drunken shitshow drive home that follows), anyone who is going back to college for the first time cannot wait to rejoin the ranks of the disaffected college student, barely able to stumble to class following the regular benders of Jager and Vicodin we’ve all grown accustomed to.

You see, the draw of college is really fucking warped to anyone outside of the student populace. Most of the outside world believes the function of universities is to educate, to hone the “skills” necessary to function in whatever “real world” is waiting for us after we graduate. But the college student knows differently. Degrees and GPAs are afterthoughts. A college student attends college to 1) get the hell out of their hometowns, 2) drink until they no longer remember where it is appropriate to shit, and 3) fuck, and fuck abundantly. (If you aren't a student, go back and read the previous sentence very carefully, lest it travels right over your head.) Each and every one of these reasons sum up why we love going back so much, and why graduating is, at least for me, going to leave me morose at best, Phil-Specter-batshit-crazy at worst.

Without the college experience, how would sorority girls finally find their true callings as money-hungry cum dumpsters? How would 90% of the world’s alcoholics really hit their glory days before plunging into a barren future of lost jobs and cirrhosis? Where would all the scholarship football players learn the teamwork skills necessary for them excel as members of the Taco Bell Family?

College is the only time some things are possible. Getting foam-mouth drunk in large crowds of people is not only OK if you're a college student, it's damn near expected. Being able to not show up for classes and still pass if you cram for the tests? There is no equivalent in the job world. Ease of date rape? Please.

That's why going back means so much. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also gives the liver time to repair itself. Write that one down, kids.

Sure, classes suck. Sure, as soon as you fail that first astronomy test, you're going to wish you had just gone to work the coal mines like Dad. Sure, calling your mom, drunk, to let her know about the court date really puts a damper on your parents' 25th wedding anniversary. But you know what?

It's all. Fucking. Worth it.