All of this Veishea talk has got me thinking about college. For many, college is a time of bad decisions and regret. (Let’s hope the rioters, instilled with a little hindsight, possess those sentiments, anyway.) For others, it’s a time of friendship and personal growth.
For me, it was a bittersweet mixture of both.
Perhaps the best way to describe what college meant to me is to explain how I feel every time I revisit the University of Iowa campus. Driving along Burlington Street, surveying the staples of my college years – streets that sing with stories, buildings that dance with memories – I’m overcome with a unique blend of emotions. Pride and excitement, of course, but also a deep longing to return, as well as an astute thankfulness that I have moved on. That’s what college is once it’s over – a bank of memories that you want to relive and forget all at the same time.
There’s that time I biffed it in the middle of Dodge Street while taking my first fur baby, Hamlet, for a walk, which was much more embarrassing than when I fell walking home from class during an ice storm, because at least then I had an excuse. There’s the time we went on an apartment crawl instead of a bar crawl and Kevin got a princess cake and an igloo (lucky guy). There’s every Thursday night of junior year’s fall semester, when Geoff and I met at Donnelly’s after our night classes for grilled cheese and Irish car bombs. There’s the Lindquist Center and the Field House and Apartment #9. There’s the fight song and the chicken pitas and the marker table. (Remember the marker table, guys?)
All of these things were awesome then, but they’re even more awesome now that they’re infused with perspective and nostalgia. Prior to college, I had never lived with friends, slept in on weekdays, partied on Wednesday nights, and taken classes over stuff that I actually cared about. And I never will again. College can never be replicated. It’s every kid’s ideal set-up (and every parent’s worst nightmare.).
Here are some other things I wish I had known back when flip phones were cool and Hawkeye football was good:
8:00 A.M. on a Friday is not early.
Missing Tuesday’s class is worth Monday’s night out.
Not all friends stick around.
Teaching a class is a lot harder than taking one.
The degree will come soon enough. Don’t rush this.