Still Not Going Back
That time has come, once again, when we send off our young people to return to their high education. Some are venturing forth for the first time, finding a new adventure waiting for them in some dorm on some campus full of potential future friends; some are returning to those friends with stories of the summer and a few years practice under their belts, ready to tackle yet another semester of classes and social engagements; but all are packing up, driving, flying, busing or boating to the school of their choice for more exciting higher education. I am, for the second year, not one of them.
The first year is always the weirdest. That’s the year when you still have a good number of friends waiting patiently for their turn at the graduation stage and you get to see all of their excitement and complaints about going back for their final year. You also get to see that little cousin, who you could have sworn was only four feet tall last you saw him, now practically six-foot and off joining a fraternity. Weird. The first year is the year you feel a little sad not to be going back. Yeah, you’re free of all the academic requirements, the hassle of packing and moving and unpacking only to pack up again a few weeks later to go back home for break, the unpredictable shower temperatures, and the bad dining hall food, but you’re also missing out on new hijix-filled adventures with good friends from all over the country. I got through my first year weirdness, watched my friends go back to school without me and most of them graduated and moved on to bigger and better things. So this year I should be used to it, right?
While admittedly it’s a little less weird this year, there is still a bit of lingering strangeness about not picking up with something in the fall to transition the seasons. You figure, for twenty-two years of my life I got up one morning in late August, I packed up freshly bought notebooks and pencils, and I hoped up a bus or in my car and went to school. Suddenly that’s not a thing anymore, and it’s still a little off-putting. What did I do with my summer? The same thing I did with my spring and fall and winter, minus the snow. My life flows freely now, not sectioned off into school and break.
So my memories on Facebook have been quite full of college type posts from years passed. Old blog posts about moving into my first apartment, comments on my wall from friends as they arrived back on campus, contemplation of returning to classes and the peace and quiet of a summer in the library being disturbed once more by a crowd of students. It makes me almost miss going back. Almost. I will say, I miss the community. I miss being in theater and hanging out with all my friends in my brig and being around people in general all the time without a whole lot of effort. Socializing was easy in college. You walk around campus and chances are you’ll find a friend or two hanging out, studying, or just reading on the lawn or in the library or over at the local coffee shop. People everywhere! It’s so much harder to keep in touch with people and organize social events when one doesn’t have a large group of friends within walking distance. But, this is what we have social media and letters for. And Skype. Skype is great for that.
People will occasionally ask me if I want to go back. Do I plan on going on and doing more school? Get an even high education? The answer is no. I see no reason for me to go back to that. Sure, I miss the people, I miss working in the library and reading all the things and having a community of writerly-minded people to converse and debate with. I miss my writing group and my fiction class and having tea in Fern Cliffe. I miss Geneva College, but I don’t miss going to college. Will I be going back to stalk my remaining Geneva friends, though? Yes. Yes I will. Because I’m a creep like that.