Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Going back

I wish I could go back to college.
Life was so simple back then.
What would I give
To go back and live
In a dorm with a meal plan again?
I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad
And think, "Oh my God!
I am totally gonna go far."
How do I go back to college?
I don't know who I am anymore.
I wish I had taken more pictures.
But if I were to go back to college
Think what a loser I'd be.
I'd walk through the quad
And think, "Oh my God!
These kids are so much younger than me."

-Avenue Q
I just got back from my college reunions. Rather appropriate that "I wish I could go back to college" came up on my playlist on the drive back. I can definitely relate to a lot of it, and hearing it and singing along made me all sad and nostalgic. I can't say I actually knew who I was in college--I have long had this sense that I have no idea what I want to do with my life--but somehow being a good student in college--an elite college at that--was enough to hold the identity issues at bay. It gave me status and security; my school and my major were all I needed to tell people to convince them that I was a successful young woman with great things ahead of her, whether or not that was true. Now that I'm going back to grad school, I still have that easy identity to some degree. But really, I don't know who I am, and I am unsure of how far I will go; I am full of doubt. I wish I had taken more pictures as an undergrad. I didn't have a good camera until junior year, so my freshman and sophomore years are sadly under recorded. And I am already finding that most college kids seem young to me; I mean, gosh, my baby brother is an upperclassman! If I were to go back to college, I would definitely be a loser.

Moping aside, my weekend at reunions was great. I am now two years out of college, and the campus has experienced some very notable changes since I left (ever more new buildings). But still, when I step back on campus, it's almost like I've never left. Walking around campus is just as natural as it ever was. I visited once last year when classes were still going on, and that was a little strange. Seeing kids who had the year before been my peers go off to class when I had no classes to speak of, I felt like a complete outsider (which I was). But at reunions, I belong again. The campus is full of alumni, most of my friends are there, and we all fall back into our old habits. We hang out at the same places, hit the same restaurants, have similar conversations. It will be different in a few years when we all start bringing back significant others and--*cringe*--children, but for now we can still pretend we've just come back to school from a long break.

Granted, talking to my college friends isn't exactly the same as it was when we saw each other every day. We all now have new friends from where we currently live who know more about our daily lives than our old college friends. Heck, readers of my blog know more about recent happenings in my life than most of my good friends from college. So much has happened since last year's reunion, we struggle to figure out what to tell. If we haven't been communicating much in the past year, there is just too much to fit into one long weekend. But, at least for now, we all still have the same closeness that we used to have. We speak as freely as ever, relating stories that we think are interesting and saying whatever comes to mind, which largely turns out to be stories from the good old days.

I wish I could go back to college, but I can't. Thank goodness for reunions! May they continue to be as great as they were this year.

P.S. I have been out of the loop for almost a week, so it'll take some time to get back into the loop. Also, my journal article has now been published online, though I'm still not sure which month it will appear in the printed journal. I'd give the link to the article, but that would be bad for my whole attempt at anonymity. And it would bore you anyway.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if I could do a reunion, it would all be too depressing..."Yes, look at all the things I haven't done with my life".

Sebastian said...

Ah-hah! I wondered where you'd got to.

I go to my school reunions, but I think I've missed a few university ones. I don't do well at keeping friends though, just acquaintances. I keep in touch with the 2 or 3 good friends I made at university, and I guess that'll have to do.

Perhaps it's also because I don't have much to tell, except for travel stories, and I know some of my class mates have wives and children already (it's been 3 or 4 years for me now).

You know, that whole 'easymode identity' thing you talk of is the main reason people become institutionalised... The easy way out, for many people!

Eleni said...

PJB - Yes, I have friends who are buying condos, driving hybrids, winning fellowships, excelling at med school, and all sort of other things to make me feel inadequate. But for now, at least, going to a reunions is going back to a time when we were all just students together. Simple times. And you've been in Spain, which would surely make other people jealous. I'm jealous!

Seb - I said in my last post that I was going to reunions! Ah well. I didn't go to my fifth year high school reunion. My two best friends in high school were a year ahead of me, so I figured it wasn't worth it. But some of my high school friends are definitely already married with children. I find them scrolling down my facebook friends list, thinking, "Who is this person? I don't know that name--Oh, that's who it is, she got married!" But you, without a story to tell?! I don't believe it!

Hezabelle said...

I haven't graduated university yet (that's next week!) but I have the same sort of feeling about high school.

I don't know if I'd ever go to a uni reunion because I really only made about three good friends during my degree and I don't like most of the rest of my graduating class much.. I don't even want to see them next week and it's only been a month! hehe