One Year Later
Recently I was having lunch with one of my good friends, who was a senior this past year at my old high school. She was telling me all about her plans to move up to Kalamazoo College. I’m sure she felt like I wasn’t paying attention to all the names, dates, and locations she was throwing around. Probably because I was too busy following the train of thought started by the simple phrase “When I was your age…”
I decided that, since my mind was obviously no longer on the mountain of packing that I had to do before I left, I’d start jotting down some thoughts on what life was like exactly a year ago. I love doing stuff like this, because it is a great way to see just how far you’ve come. Great, now I’ve got this Matchbox Twenty song stuck in my head. Below is a distillation of those thoughts.
I had the tiniest of mental breakdowns while I was packing up my stuff to head off to Ann Arbor last year. Looking back, I know I was being stupid. Ann Arbor is literally just an hour from my house, so even if I forgot something that I could not live without it wouldn’t be that bad to make the trip. Plus, my parents, being the truly amazing people that they are, had told me this at least a dozen times while I was frantically trying to figure out if I had packed everything that I would need.
Turns out I didn’t really pack much that I needed besides clothes and toiletries. Luckily, my more thorough roommate had picked up things like an extra chair, garbage bags, Kleenex, paper towels, and Clorox wipes. And paper plates. And I’m sure I could continue with this list, but it would probably make me look like an idiot. But that’s okay, I was one, then.
I remember having a totally wrong idea of how classes were going to be, as well. I knew that they were going to be harder than in high school, but I was thinking the added difficulty came from having a lot more to know and not as much instruction. I figured that if you went to the lectures, took good notes, and then studied them like crazy then you’d be fine for the exams. It didn’t even cross my mind (again, I was dumb back then) that there would be homework at all, let alone lots and lots of homework. Man, was I wrong.
I cannot think of another experience that I’ve had in life (although I’m sure marriage will be similar, once I get there) that combined trepidation and excitement in such a delightful cocktail. Looking back, I think that I focussed too much one on or the other whenever I looked forward to move-in day: I was either exhilarated to finally get out of Clarkston (sorry C-Town, but your Main St area is smaller than my dorm building) or terrified that I would be going into a new situation only knowing a handful of people. A mixed feeling of that intensity is, in my opinion, one of the greatest joys of life.
I think that’s enough out of me for a while. I have a laundry list of things to do before I have to start work next week, and those textbooks aren’t going to buy themselves. Oh, but if only they did. Last lesson learned since last year: textbooks are the DEVIL.