There’s a lot I love about college. Between the lakes, State Street and the Capitol, our college campus is unmatched.

I guess it’s possible that other campuses are cool, but I’m sure any Badger would agree — there’s no place quite like our campus.

You may think that given this is a banter piece I’m being sarcastic right now, but I am genuinely not. I love this campus, this school, and being one of thousands of students in a Big Ten community is truly a special feeling.

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With living in such a special environment, however, we all also have kind of a bizarre lifestyle within a bubble of only being with people our own age — in classes, in our neighborhoods, in our jobs and quite literally everywhere else. Really, there’s no other time in our life that we will experience a mini town of late teens to young 20s, and all of the crazy shenanigans that will coincide with this type of company.

But as it would happen, I found myself scrolling through TikTok one evening (surprise, surprise) and something was brought to my attention. Some man — and this was a while ago so I forget the user, sorry and thank you for the banter pitch idea sir — dove into this acute phenomenon that happens on college campuses across the United States — how we, undergraduates, now go months at a time without seeing a fucking kid.

Let that sink in.

Now actually sit back and think, when was the last time you saw a human, aged five or below, just out and about when you were on campus? The nature of the University of Wisconsin being so well integrated with the city of Madison debunks my theory a bit, but still, a whole demographic is out there that we barely see ever. Kinda weird?

I came to this realization that I had grown so accustomed to this cesspool of 18 to 22 year olds that the idea of anything (or if they are old enough to be considered “anyone”) being under the age of eight was unfathomable to me.

You forgot the noises they make, the food smeared on their faces, the tantrums they throw and the weird little outfits they wear (Can you tell I just LOVE kids?). But seriously, when was the last time you walked down University Avenue and saw a full-ass child?

I guess on some level you can argue that we really are still children, just wandering around campus, somehow given the authority to “run our own lives” within the three-mile radius that is our quaint and tidy version Madison, Wisconsin. Game day is just grown-up playgrounds and day-drinking is adult … idk. Milk? (Ew.) 

To be fully transparent, I’m not sure how to bring this random assortment of thoughts about the idiosyncrasy of half-grown people full circle. I don’t even think that there is a lesson to be learned from realizing that we all go through our daily lives as students never seeing children. Maybe it’s something we can all be like, “Huh, yeah it is weird when I do see one of *those* after weeks of staring at people my own age.”

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Or maybe not. I would say pretty confidently the fact that most of us lead our lives without staring into the eyes of some pint-sized person really has no effect on us one way or another, except being bizarre when we do see one in action for the first time in a while, pushing around a little car or something tiny that seems crushable. 

Maybe they have a small backpack on them. Maybe a tiny mask (which is kinda cute in my opinion). But overall, there’s not much of a point to me pointing out this phenomenon to you.

Maybe stare them down a little more next time you see one though. Food for thought.