College Flashback

November 8, 2011 at 7:39 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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in front of my first apartment

This past weekend was a blast from the past, with a touch of the future.  After picking out my bridesmaid dress for one of my former college roommate’s weddings, we went for breakfast and mimosas, and went on to spend the rest of this carefree day lying around on the couch watching Dazed and Confused, until the night brought out more college friends for some good old fashion fun.

To complete the college flashback, on the way home I took an impromptu detour to visit my alma mater, something that was long overdue.  I had originally planned to visit during my summer vacation but time got away from me as it often does.

I believe it’s been six years since I paid a visit to the old town, and it was important to me to take this trip down memory lane and to show this piece of my past to my future husband.  I wanted to see what has changed, what has stayed the same.  I drove past my old dorms, my first apartment, my part time job.  We walked through town as I pointed out some of the things I remembered that were still there, and mourned the closing of my favorite bar.  We walked the campus and the historic cemetery.  I remembered the routes I would walk on thirsty Thursdays, the people I met, the friends I made, the memories I had made.  It was really overwhelming and altogether exciting.  Walking the campus I remembered how as a freshman I felt the campus was so big, and how by the end of sophomore year, had small it had gotten.  This time, it felt big all over again, but it was more a slice of the world separated from reality, and with all the good memories and the bad, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not have traded the experience for anything.  I am a proud alum.

Because for this short period of time, this bridge between high school and real life responsibility, I had a really good time.  I was out on my own, amongst thousands of people my age, all without a clue of what the world was really all about, though some of us thought we had it all figured out.  If you asked me today what lessons from my college classes really stuck with me from the 30 or so courses I took in 3 years, those lessons are few and far between.  Sure, every so often I will call upon a lesson from my Bio of Cancer and AIDS class, or the critiques in my writing classes, but what I really learned in college was a greater sense of who I was and what I wanted from life.

It had been six years since I revisited this important piece of my past, but I’m so glad I went back.  Sometimes a visit to the past can help refocus your future.

Graduation

June 7, 2011 at 7:33 am | Posted in Life and Living | 2 Comments
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On my most recent business trip I traveled down to Baltimore to attend a high school graduation.  This June is actually the 10th anniversary of my graduation from high school and attending this event definitely took me back.

I remember exactly how I felt as a student at graduation.  I remember what I wore and why I wore it.  I remember who I sat next to and the people who received the most accolades.  I remember feeling like something big was happening, something that I wasn’t going to understand, a path in which I would have to follow my instincts in order to make it through.  There were so many questions.  What’s going to happen to all that I know, my circle of friends, my daily routine?  At that moment you don’t realize that there are some people that you have seen every day for the past 12 years who you will never see again, and some who you won’t see for years, and when you do see them again, it will never be the same.  There is no proper good bye, nor is one necessarily needed.

I remember a sense of comfort and support sitting next to one of my best friends as we listened to all the adults telling us how are lives were going to change.  We had sat next to each other at at all school activities where we were arranged alphabetically and he remains one of my closest friends today.  But I’m not close with many people from my high school anymore.  Things change.  You meet new people. You come into your own.  People you weren’t friends with in high school come into their own as well. You may get along better with people you were never friends with in high school if you met them today.

High school was a moment in time.  So much happens from the time you enter to the time you leave, but it is nothing compared to what will happen when you walk out that door and look back ten years later.  I get goosebumps as I watch these students, full of promise and I wonder if they will be happy and successful, even those who didn’t win scholarships.  Will the predictions of where you will be in ten years come true?  Will where you will be make sense to the person you always thought you were?

For me, graduation was full of mixed emotions. Sadness, for the social life that I loved, excitement for being out on my own, and curiosity for who I was to become.  And now looking back at that time, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I look to these kids to keep the promise of the future alive in all that they do.

MASH and “Predicting the Future”

January 4, 2011 at 7:55 am | Posted in Career Moves, Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Relationship Woes | 13 Comments
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photo credit: http://karenhart.me

Middle school flashback.  Your body is changing and you look seriously awkward trying to fit into it.  You are figuring out which clique would accept you.  And the prepubescent boys are looking super cute.  Your world is as big as your classroom.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes class can be boring.  I was never very good at doodling.  My art even back then was writing.  So what do you do to pass the time?  Dream about the future!  This is where a fabulous game called MASH came into play.

Mansion, apartment, shack, house.  These were just some of the “choices” you’d have to make when you grow up.  Where will you live?  Other features of the game — pick 5 of each: boys you like, cars you like, colors (of bridal dress), cities, number of children you will have, and let’s no forget careers.  You create a swirl in the middle of the page, count the lines and use that number to complete the process of elimination, ex-ing out an item each time your number comes up.  At the end of the day, you end up marrying Bobby, living in a mansion, driving a red Ferrari, living in Paris, with 4 kids, and working as a lawyer.  Sounds about right, no?

Oh, how small the world was back then!  I remember literally thinking who would I marry from my middle school. MY MIDDLE SCHOOL?  How does this idea get into people’s heads?  Ok, to be fair, I actually know about a dozen people who did end up with someone they knew in middle school.  Call it small world mentality, or comfort zone, I don’t know.  I stopped dating people from my high school in like 9th grade. But something tells me when these people think back to middle school and have this same thought that I did, the person they are with now didn’t make the list.

If only our decisions could be as simple as we thought they’d be.  But what if Bobby doesn’t want to marry me?  What if we can’t afford a mansion? (HA!)  And what if, God forbid, I don’t get that Ferrari.  What ever will I do?

The saving grace of this game, in retrospect, is that it does include a category for career (in the version of the game that I played).  At least we had the idea of working for a living instilled in our minds.  But what about college?  I can tell you that I was a weirdo and I actually did think about college in middle school, thanks to my dad always saying it was the best time of his life, the movie Animal House, and my first boyfriend whose older sisters were already in college.  My Bat-Mitzvah theme was colleges and telephones (yea, figure that one out).  Perhaps if college was added to this game middle schoolers would have seen that there is a world between high school and this dream life MASH creates.  Perhaps kids would see that while there are endless possibilities, there are also realistic possibilities.  That the world is much larger than a classroom, but can also feel smaller than a locker at times.

But it was a different world back then.  The tech boom was just starting.  I remember when my friend Ilana first got AOL. We’d all gather around her computer, wait for the dial up, and stare in awe at the big box computer as it said “You’ve got mail,” in that familiar computer voice we all know.  By 8th grade we were all instant messaging, staying up to all hours having conversations with boys that were too hard to have in person.  We were just beginning to discover the greater world, but yet it all seemed like a fantasy.

So maybe that’s all that MASH is or was.  Maybe it was a just a form of fantasy.  Maybe we never thought it was ever going to be reality.  But maybe we did.  I don’t believe in destiny, but I do believe in fate, and I believe in dreams.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I still plan to dream of endless possibilities.

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