10 Things I'm Glad Didn't Exist When I Was In College

by Jennifer Burby
Originally Published: 
Mimage Photography / Shuttterstock

I attended undergrad in the early-2000 timeframe, when life was easy. Very few people had cell phones, and we had to take turns sharing the dorm room landline.

Aah, the simple life.

If someone tried to contact you, you could pretend you never got the call, the email or the letter that came via snail mail. You didn’t have to think about doing something immature and becoming an overnight sensation on YouTube. You didn’t have to worry about writing stupid things in an email and having it go viral. Because back when my friends and I were in college, we certainly never said or did anything dumb, immature or regretful. But just in case we did…

Here are the top ten things I’m glad didn’t exist when I was in college:

10. Facebook

Back when I was an undergrad, they had this thing called Flashes Online.

No, it wasn’t one of those sites. It was a company that sent photographers to college events, usually fraternity and sorority functions, to document shenanigans, tomfoolery and debauchery. The photos were uploaded onto the Internet for purchase within a couple days, and you better believe that me and all my girlfriends were glued to our IBMs, scrolling through thousands of pictures of people we didn’t know to see if our crush-o’-the-month was spotted with another girl on camera.

Praise God, Facebook didn’t hit the scene until my first year of law school, and even then, it wasn’t very popular. Oh, and you had to actually be enrolled at a college or university to qualify for a Facebook account. Not like now, where the free world has access to it.

For sure, if Facebook was around in college, I would have been arrested for stalking.

9. Text Messages

These weren’t around until my senior year of undergrad, and even so, nobody really used them because it took 10 minutes just to figure out how to type a seven-letter word. Further, they weren’t part of my cell phone “family plan,” and my Dad threatened to kill me because each incoming text cost 25 cents.

Back in the glory days, we actually had to pick up the phone and call someone when we wanted to make plans. Or we had to hop on our computers—usually desktops–and log into AIM to figure out what everybody was doing.

My screen name was “chikenleggz.” Don’t ask.

8. The Bachelor/Bachelorette

While this show was technically around when I was in college, the extravagant dates on the show didn’t happen until much later. If so, the extremely over-the-top nature of “dating” would have given me an unrealistic view of relationships and made me feel insecure about my own love life.

You mean you’re not picking me up at 7 to take me on a personal tour of the Grand Canyon via helicopter followed by a romantic candlelit dinner at a castle? Instead, you’re taking me to the unlimited Italian smorgasbord at Cici’s Pizza?


7. Camera Phones

Back in the glory days of college, we carried around disposable cameras from the drugstore. Getting them developed was like opening presents on Christmas morning: You never knew what you’d get, and the final product would leave you equal parts disappointed and elated.

There was no red-eye correction or skin-smoothing filter. The only way to crop a photobomber was to physically cut him or her out of the picture altogether.

Sometimes you had to hide your recently developed photographs from your significant other, because you didn’t know the exact age of your disposable drugstore camera or if any of the pictures that you’d since forgotten about would get you into trouble. And for the love, never let your mother develop your pictures.


6. Selfies

You couldn’t really take a “selfie” with a disposable camera. If you did, you couldn’t immediately upload it onto the Internet (because there was no social media) and you had no idea how it turned out until you developed your pictures.

Not to mention that being caught taking pictures of yourself in the early 2000s would have gotten you labeled as vain and narcissistic.

5. Wikipedia

When I was in college, if you wanted to do any research, you had to actually walk to the library and fully acquaint yourself with the card catalogue. Nowadays, thanks to Wikipedia, college students can plagiarize from the comfort of their own couches.

4. Amazon Prime

I didn’t have a car my first two years of undergrad. If I wanted to go anywhere or needed to buy anything, I had to either take the bus or mooch a ride from my friends. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it was the latter.

I would have been impoverished if Amazon Prime existed when I was an undergrad. The fact that I didn’t have a job or two pennies to rub together wouldn’t have deterred me from buying 19 bottles of Bed Head shampoo, a Juicy Couture terry cloth jumpsuit and the new Vanessa Carlton album just because I could.

Click, click, boom!

3. Smart Phones

Back in college, I had the freedom of being completely “in the moment” with my friends without the pressure of needing to instantly respond to emails and SMS messages, uploading pictures of my otherwise mundane life on Instagram or posting witty remarks on Twitter. Amen.

2. Hashtags

#wheniwasincollege #wedidn’thavetheseridiculoushashtags #andcouldactuallybefunnyinreallife #withoutfeelinglike #wehadtobefunny #ontheinternet

1. Tinder

This is an Internet application that pulls information from Facebook to create the user’s profile, and then retrieves “matches” that meet their age/sex/location criteria. The user swipes the picture to the right if they find the other user attractive, or swipes to the left if they’re not interested. No thanks.,

Cheers to the glory days when life was simple and more unplugged!

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