Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking Back...

I wrote this a couple weeks ago, and just now managed to edit it and post it. Hope you like!


I'm sitting here at [big seattle college institution] where my mother teaches. In the cafeteria area, with my backpack next to me and my grande caramel mocha with whip close at hand. Earphones in, music blasting away and I'm sure amongst all the other oblivious souls with their open texts or open laptops or open mouths (hastily gulping down that last drop of coffee before their next class) I look just like them. Just another student cramming away towards whatever goals we all strive for. I'm not one of them though. I used to be, but today I'm the other...the "enemy" so to speak. Today I've been invited to guest lecture, first year basic biology (sure it was my mother who did the inviting, and it's my mother's class I'm lecturing...but it's darn cool anyway). I'm not due on stage for another hour and I've already gone over my notes more times that I really ever needed to.

When I was in High School, I couldn't wait to get out. To me it was just a stepping stone towards what I really was looking forward to; college and freedom. I did about as well as I possibly could have, graduating in the top .5% of my class (yeah, you read that right... 0.5%, tied for second over all four years). My only non-A grade came from one semester of dreaded PE and you better believe I dropped that class the first millisecond I could. But I didn't do it for the "acclaim" though I have to admit it was really satisfying to hear my name called at every awards ceremony. I did it to ensure that I will get into the college I wanted to. Every little bit counted. Did all the right sports, took all the right classes, joined the best clubs. And when I graduated with the acceptance letter to [Huge Washington based research university] in hand, I gladly said good bye and good riddance and never looked back.

My 5 years at said university was all I ever could have wanted and more. I LOVED it! There, I was in my element. Independently studying among likeminded individuals all reaching for higher summits and being encouraged and challenged every step of the way. I can choose my own path, master of my own destiny and so on. Of course it wasn't all about studies (DUH!) and I had 6 of the best girl friends anyone could ever hope for to experiment with (no, not in that way...pervs!) To Cry with. Grow with. Laugh with. Parties, study dates, late night cram sessions, running to each others rooms for no reason just to talk, pranks...the quintessential college experience. Roaming around campus and the U-District in my NorthFace fleece and backpack and feeling like I belonged. Here in this school (so big it had it's own zipcode) with 45,000 other students, I felt like I really found my place in the world. I would go back in a second. Do everything over again, even all the tests and stress, the dickhead professors, waking up 15 minutes before a final or midterm, rolling out of bed after a long night of cramming to run to class in my pjs, take the test, crawl back to my dorm or apartment and go right back to sleep (or to study for the next test as it more often was the case). Give (almost) anything to feel that free again, free of any responsibilities past making sure you get home ok after this party, making sure you get to that coffee place on time to meet your friends, making sure you study just enough to pass the nasty Calculus exam tomorrow.

I graduated almost 4 years ago and I think it's taken me that long to feel like I belong in this next phase of my life. I've considered going back to school to earn my Masters and it is still an option for me. Real Life, if this is what it really is, is a bit harder to get acclimated to. I don't feel welcomed, not like how I felt from the first step onto college life and how I felt till the day I walked up the steps to accept my diploma on my graduation day.

I don't know what made me think of all this. Perhaps the building...filled with the thoughts of countless generations of students. Perhaps the atmosphere, the sounds of voices all around me, getting steadily louder as I sit here and type this. Its been a nice interlude, looking back and reminiscing. I should really look over my notes one more time... Or maybe not, I know this stuff, and if I mess up *shrug* who'll know but me? For now and the next 15 minutes till class starts, I'm gonna keep putting off "real life", keep pretending to be one of them, simultaneously wishing I was and being oddly grateful I'm not.


[new video up...]


words...words...words... said...

This makes me nostalgic for college :) And I feel like I've read it before...hmm...

Cora said...

Ohhhh I know what you mean. I loved college too. It felt like anything was possible, like it all starts HERE, you know? It felt like the magical first step to something fantastic.

Then I messed it up.

I was working full time to pay my way through college and I was getting virtually no sleep, so I was utterly exhausted. My parents were getting a divorce and it got UGLY. My dad became suicidal. My sister became anorexic. And I just became the family flake. I just couldn't handle it all.

Then along came this loser guy who told me he was moving to Port Angeles and he had a house out there and he invited me to move with him. I didn't even think twice, I ditched my family and my education and everything that meant anything to me and I ran off with him thinking I was starting a new and better life.


That house he claimed to have? It was a rental house he hadn't even inquired about. He was sleeping in a trailer at his parents house.... and he needed all my hard earned college savings to rent the house. BIG RED FLAG, but I ignored it because I knew I couldn't go home because my dad was too angry with me, so I handed over every penny I had, totally flushing any chance of going back to school in the near future right down the toilet.

Yay me.

BUT I FULLY INTEND TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL ONE DAY, DAMMIT! I don't know when or how, but I know I will. Maybe my daughter and I will go to college together? That seems most likely. I already know what I want to study. NEUROLOGY. *droooooool*

So, yes, I'm jealous of anyone who is in school, just starting to sculpt their life. It's a rare point in life where actually ANYTHING is possible - life can be whatever you want it to be. It's a little harder to make life what you want it to be when you drop out of school to run off with a jerk and then end up a single mom working 11 hours a day - it's a little harder.... but not impossible. :-)

The Unbearable Banishment said...

So your mother is a dentist and a teacher? Nice gene pool! No pressure there.

~E said...

Words: I accidentally posted this the day I wrote it. Hit post instead of Save draft and didn't take it down till almost an hour later. You might have read it then.

Cora: IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to go back! Never! My mom has 2 students right now who are both older than her. The silver lining in all this is yes, you made some mistakes but you gained valuable life experiences from it, and Im assuming your daughter too.

UB: After 20 years of practice, she had to get carpal tunnel surgery on both hands a few years ago. So she is slowly trying to phase out of practicing and into teaching. She teacher a Dental Hygiene prep course twice a week and a lab once a week. Has been doing so for the last couple years.

Felisa said...

Wanna switch?

I'm kidding. I like it :P Even though I'm running on 3 hours of sleep right now, am totally buzzed because of the 4 shots of espresso I had just an hour ago and I still have a crap load left to do... I like it. It's so much more free than high school and everything just excites me... everything. I'll always complain about it but I know that if I weren't doing this, I don't know what else I'd be doing with my life right now.

Fancy Schmancy said...

You are amazing, and you can do every single thing you set your mind to. I'm so in awe of you, and cannot wait to find out how this went!

J.J. in L.A. said...

I loved college! Well, it was a trade school, but still. It wasn't high school with their hall passes, campus patrol, etc. I was studying what I wanted to study and I finally felt like a grown up.

mo.stoneskin said...

"I'm sure amongst all the other oblivious souls with their open texts or open laptops or open mouths (hastily gulping down that last drop of coffee before their next class) I look just like them"

Almost certainly, almost certainly.

And pranks, sweet university pranks. Reminds me of the time we traipsed through the halls putting an egg in each kitchen's microwave, hitting the power and moving on...

~E said...

Felisa: I would never deprive you of your college experience!! but thanks for asking!

Fancy: Thank you! It went swimmingly...I thourougly impressed and I here the students did mighty well on their next test. Not saying it was because of me, but you probably was.

J.J: Exactly! High school bit the bit one

Mo: Stay tuned, pranks galore coming up soon.

Chris said...

I'm with you. I'm avoiding real life starting too;)

Top .5%? You are that smart but couldn't come up with some kind of "accident" for your competition? You know, the night before the big science fair, swap labels around so their "I enriched U-235 by creating a gaseous diffusion pump out of a gym sock, a hair dryer, and a Mr. Coffee machine" project has a criticality incident.

Why am I imagining that half of the guys leaving that class that day were humming the Van Halen song "Hot For Teacher" ?

Mr London Street said...

I've waited months for a blog post containing the sentence "I had 6 of the best girl friends anyone could ever hope for to experiment with".