Writer’s note: I’ve been on a brief hiatus since before Labor Day. You’ll see several posts today and tomorrow as I play catch-up.
Back to School
The end of August brought another change to our household. Emily, our oldest, went back to school to start her sophomore year at the University of Maryland
. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, I posted a few pictures of Emily’s new dorm. While moving Emily back in was almost a non-event, for me, being on a college campus – once again – brought back memories that were both good and, unfortunately, somewhat sad.
College Memories – Dorm Life
I have always enjoyed being on a college campus. It doesn’t matter if I attended the university, or not. Or even if I’m just visiting a school for a tour. There is something about college life – the energy or the vibe that campus life radiates – which I feed off of and makes me feel a bit younger at the same time. I certainly felt that energy, initially, when we got reacquainted with Maryland and its beautiful campus.
The campus is spread out, but still very walkable, and I love the architecture of its buildings. As I said in my Facebook post, Emily is now living in one of the newest dorms on the north side of the school’s campus. On each floor or her new dorm is a laundry room, four separate lounges, and several study rooms. Best of all, this dorm has central AC.
Emily’s new dorm is nice. Very nice. Reflecting on our dorm experiences, Vicki and I were jealous.
College Memories – Arrogance of Youth
My energy level faded a bit as our visit wore on. Maybe it was the heat (mid 90s with no breeze) or the medicine (Gleevec causes fatigue) or a combination of the two. Perhaps, however, it was the sight – in the student union just outside the main bookstore – of all those college kids in their prime, beginning another year of school. I remember those days: the arrogance, the cockiness, the insecurities, the hope, the craving to find out who you really are. And none of it with any thought about how your present actions may impact your long term future. At that age, you’re going to live forever!
|The “arrogance” of youth?
Then I saw it. Right outside a meeting room where they were selling wall posters. Posters that would go in dorm rooms all over campus. A poster just sitting there, labelled “Timeless Classic,” propped up next to other wall posters with more current themes: Breaking Bad, Dr. Who, The Avengers, even Kim Kardashian (whatever?). An “old school” poster with the message, “Who cares about the future? I’m living for right now!”
College Memories – Back to the Future
I couldn’t believe that in 2013 the “Animal House” mentality so many of old timers
emulated back in the day is still alive and well on many college campuses. It brought back those college memories – good times and bad times. The sadness, I mentioned earlier, also began to envelope me.
My life may soon be over!
Sitting by myself (Emily was in the bookstore getting her text books), I watched all the action around me. It was as if I wasn’t even there. I wanted to shout out, “I’m sick, I have cancer! My life may soon be over. Think about what you’re doing now. Make smart choices. Be safe and be a good person. Listen to me…I’ve made thousands of mistakes. I know it sounds crazy, but you’ve got to do more with your life. Don’t waste it on being wasted!”
What you do with your life is the hard part.
Then I realized…You only learn by trial and error. And the only way you experience life is by doing, not just sitting on the sidelines watching. Hopefully, you’ll make good choices at every point in your journey, but sometimes you’ll make the wrong decision – which is better than making no decision at all. We’ve all just got to live, and – we hope – live a long and productive life. (Or, as Mr. Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.”)
I think there’s a quote that goes, “Living is easy, it’s what you do with your life that’s the hard part.”
And so the journey continues…..
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