Written by Contributor Writer Megan Shankland

It’s Friday night.

And like most Friday nights, you can find me snuggled on the couch with my cat-and an occasion spoon inside a carton of Ben and Jerry’s.

In my senior year of college, the turn-down-for-what phase of my life is now a distant memory. Long gone are the nights of crowding the bathroom with all roommates sharing one mirror to complete that 4-hour look for a short night out.

But don’t get me wrong. Part of the magical experience of college is going out. Unlike high school, freedom is in full swing.

No longer do you need permission from your parents to have a small gathering. In fact, most college students prepare the whole day for going out; where will you go, how will you get there, what will you wear? Will you invite that cute boy from your chemistry class?

There was always a very detailed conversation about how much alcohol we’d need to buy if we were having pre-drinks too. As you can see, we only think about the important stuff. Luckily, my friends always had their fake ids with them, so we could buy whatever we needed for the occasion, (wine was always the most popular choice). It then wouldn’t be long until our attention turned to the night. It’s always about the night.

So, here’s to the many hours we’ve spent choosing our outfits, our roommate’s outfits, and then changing again. Here’s to belting out in the bathroom while doing your friend’s hair as she’s putting on her makeup; and finally after hours of prep, here’s to the two hours we actually went out before hitting McDonalds and then promptly hitting the hay.

Somewhere between the late nights and adult responsibilities, going out slows down. At this point in life, you’ll make up every excuse in the book to stay in; you’re not in the mood, you have nothing to wear, today is your stay-in-sweats day, you’ve spent too much money already, it’s too cold, it’s too far, you just remembered you have an assignment due tomorrow… it’s Friday.

Whatever the reason, going out seems to be the less desirable option.

I walked down a dorm hall the other day and I thought about my freshmen year. I remember the excitement of attending parties and meeting new people. I also remember the not so educated decisions I made to appear at those parties.

In my senior year of high school, I was geeked for the opportunity to attend a college party at Central. We walked in a below freezing, snow-covered, windy winter night without a jacket and in tank tops-what were we thinking?

Now, if I’m ever caught walking to a party, I’m in full winter gear and the party better be in less than a block of walking distance-with food.

Or what about the time I wore 5-inch heels and walked over a mile to a friend’s party? My boyfriend was not happy about carrying me back home as I cried over the blisters that had formed in groupings on my feet.

Catch me in a pair of heels now-I dare you.

Between spending money on cabs, drinks, coat check, and inevitably late-night fast food, it seems like a lot of work for a good time.

So can you blame me for my senior-year-grandma-lady status? This isn’t to say I’ve lost every ounce of wanting a good time.

You’ll still catch me from time to time enjoying myself at the bar with some friends…but don’t be surprised if I’m in a pair of leggings with a baggy sweatshirt.

What seems like a tragic ending to a four-year college experience, is actually the result of a burnt-out over-caffeinated 21-year old who’s grasping for a night-in with no responsibilities, homework, heels, or snow.

There’s something magical about ignoring your planner for the night, shutting off the lights, and turning on your favorite episode of Sex in the City.

Next Friday night, do it all again.