Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Monday in August

Today is the 35th anniversary of my first day as a college freshman.

I guess, it was technically yesterday, but I don't count orientation.  I blew off most of that stuff, especially the forced socialization.  It was a waste of time.  Just point me toward the big classroom building and tell me where to park.  Oh, and where's the men's room and the soda machine?

I was exceptionally grateful my parents gave me the opportunity for a higher education, but looking back, the overwhelming emotion of the day was terror.  Intense, intense terror.

Back then, the college handed you your schedule for that first semester.  I was blessed with 18 credits.  I didn't know you could make adjustments.  I just swallowed hard and tried my best with that difficult schedule.

Now, you have to remember, I came from a public school, and a horrible one at that.  This was my first exposure to foreign language courses in three years.  Plus, there was the new territory of religion, hard core psychology, philosophy, and literature.  Literature?  The only poetry I read was on the bathroom walls of my old high school., and it was some fairly creative stuff.  I doubt the people at my college were interested in having me share it.

I was itching to get involved in my major, but you know how freshman years are.  It's all theory.  No "hands on."  I was bored to tears, but I did realize to get to the good stuff, you have to sit through the tedium of theory classes.

Luck was on my side during those early days.  There was a high school friend at the same college who provided a familiar face and plenty of laughs.  We were in the same boat.  We always asked each other "How did we land here?"    I did become friends with several of those in the communications department.  They were a good bunch, and I'm still in touch with a few, even after all these years.  And, no, these aren't shallow, cheap, and easy Facebook friendships.

The freshman year was the toughest.  You learn the routine.  You learn how it works, and the last three years fly by.  I was glad I had those 18 credits.  It meant a much lighter schedule in later years.  I think I stayed at 18 credits through my sophomore year, and I took classes every summer to get ahead of the game.  By the time my senior year rolled around, I was barely on campus.

I can still remember that first day, vividly.

I felt out of place, but I suspect just about everyone else there was going through the same thing.  That's what being a freshman is all about.