Wednesday, July 13, 2005

College Part 1

College was a time in my life when I partied a lot and met a bunch of colorful people. My first year was spent at a large Northeastern university. I was in heaven. My mom only had enough money to pay for one year, and I wasn't eligible for enough financial aid to cover more than that first year, so I went knowing I'd have to transfer out. We were planning to move to the less expensive Southeast once my mom sold our house after I turned 18 (which was part of my parents' divorce agreement), so I knew I'd transfer to someplace near our new home.

I live on a coed hall that first year and partied waaay too much. Study? I had no concept of such things. I had something like an impressive 2.6 gpa (somewhere in the BC to C range). Most of the students on my hall were a good, albeit partying, bunch. We mostly hung out together, regardless of year. We freshmen got picked on a little, but nothing personal or mean. We'd have hallwide parties involving much alcohol and our favorite game, 3 man. I can't even remember the crazy-ass rules of the game, just that they involved dice and lots of drinking.

There was the girl we nicknamed Hoover because of the amazing hickeys she left on her boyfriend (both resided on our hall).

There were the royal couple, both upperclassmen, very preppy. Last I heard they had gotten married right after college and divorced within a couple of years.

I became good friends with one neighbor. We kept in touch for several years. Last I heard he and his parents were moving someplace in South America.

I dated my next-door neighbor for a while. He was in his 3rd or 4th year of a physics-astronomy double major with a minor in English. He was amazingly smart and kind, but I was so hung up on my high school boyfriend our dating was doomed from the beginning. He wound up so stressed out from classes and his horrible roommate that he dropped the physics-astronomy bit and wound up majoring in English. He and Hoover had hooked up before he and I dated, and I think his bad luck with women also contributed to his stress.

We all did goofy shit together. The guys decide to shower in the dark at midnight on Halloween. (I'm pretty sure some doobage was the inspiration for that). So a bunch of us girls snuck in and dumped cold water on them.

There was the camping trip. About a dozen of us went to a cheesy little campground. As always, it poured rain, so we huddled under a tarp, drank our asses off, and sang theme songs to tv shows. Later, in order to start a fire, one guy dumped about half a can of lantern fuel on the logs. Immediately, everyone backed away. It was the first and last time I've seen a 15-foot-tall campfire. Somehow nobody caught on fire. I don't even think Mr. Lantern Fuel had any damage. And of course, we suckered a girl into snipe hunting.

Thursday nights was skate night at the local rink.

On several drunken occasions, lounge furniture was launched off our sixth-floor balcony. (In retrospect, what a stupid thing to do. Thank god nobody was killed by a falling loveseat.)

During spring break, Mom and I visited our new house and checked out schools in the area. I cried, no, bawled when I saw the town and our house. It was 10 miles from "town". The town was a horrible, depressing place with no industry other than a small paper mill. Our house was in the woods, isolated from our neighbors, most of whom were only weekend/summer residents. Winters were hell - we lived a half mile up an unpaved mountain lane, off a dirt road, off a secondary road, a few miles in from a main road. Mom only stayed in that house for about 4 years. Bad snowstorms which meant no power, heat or water for several days changed her feelings for her cute little cabin. She developed pneumonia during the last storm and had to be evacuated twice by the rescue squad. They told her to stay in town until she got well because they weren't coming back a third time. Coming home and finding burst pipes yet again was enough to push mom into selling the place.

I had been accepted with a full scholarship to a small college about an hour from home. On the way there, we passed a small liberal arts university (which it turns out is the same one flea graduated from). It was love at first sight.

We went on to the college where I had appointments with admissions and the biology department head (a very nice man). We started with a tour...I was in culture shock. The other students were incoming freshmen, very country and seemingly naive. As the tour leader walked up, Mom had to sharply elbow me several times to stop my giggles - he was in ill-fitting overalls straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies. I couldn't help but wonder if he had left his straw hat at home. As he began the tour, a rickety pickup filled with cowboy hat-wearing men and completely with a shotgun hanging over the back window roared by. Holy shit, what was I getting into?

The campus was very nice and the rest of the tour uneventful. Until I discovered that religion classes were mandatory, attendance at Sunday services highly recommended, and no members of the opposite sex were allowed in the dorms. In fact, the men's and women's dorms were on opposite sides of campus. That's when I realized I couldn't go to school there. I'd get kicked out. After spending elementary and middle school at a parochial school, there was no way I was going back for more.

I ended up getting accepted into the liberal arts university, which was a much better match for my personality. I think it may also have been a better choice academically. It consistently places in the top 20 as a best buy and was the 3rd ranked public university in its state. I acutally pulled my shit together, started studying and did well in my classes.

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