Sunday, March 25, 2007

In A Nutshell

In a Nutshell

A place set aside to answer 201 autobiographical questions
from a mother for her daughter. This may take awhile...join us if you like.

48. One of my strongest memories of college was:

The amazing sense of connection to the future I was preparing for and the past that the knowledge was built from. It was simple to see that there was an intersecting path between my life and all the knowledge of humanity, which met here. I was walking on one of many paths that wound, labyrinth like, across the intellectual and cultural landscape. Other students, coming in on similar paths, chose other trajectories through the space, while some on the same part of the maze as me, had entered from very different backgrounds. And, we would each leave at our appointed place and time, to create our own futures, enriched by the time we had spent here.

At the same time that I was aware of the connection of this time and place to past and future and to all the world, it was very much of the here and now, a time off from the rest of life, a place unconnected to many of the stresses and mundane concerns of before and after college. There was a sense of timelessness that was wonderful. What happened here was something that could happen no place else. The deadlines of tests and term papers had a rhythm of their own, distinct from the rhythms of the work world. The exploration of who I was in relation to this larger, more possible world was amazing.

It was an opportunity, because I was young enough not to be tied to adult responsibilities and yet old enough not to be answerable to my parents in all things, to really explore what was possible for me. What I could become, what made me comfortable and what made me uneasy. I tried different identities, even dressing the parts. One semester it was sensitive poet (not a good fit for a woman who would later dress as Raggedy Ann when she was pregnant), another it was intrepid reporter, yet another it was Ayn Rand devotee. I could take different classes and see how what I was learning felt in my life, how did it apply to me.

I explored friendships in ways I hadn't before, finding myself, because of dorm living, with more female friends than in high school or earlier. Discovering the fun of groups of girls.

I dated a med student and a forestry student and a music major and even someone from my old high school who I hadn't known well in those days. I tried out going steady and playing the field and being hard to get. I had friends who were almost preppy and off campus friends who were bohemian (no one spoke of hippies yet). From frat parties to poetry readings in coffee houses, there was an entire smorgasbord of identities and ideas to explore.

My first semester I had two roommates, one Japanese who taught us to eat with chop sticks. My second semester I had a roommate from Los Angeles who had been acting in educational films since she was six. Hell, we even had a fire in our dorm!

1 comment:

kenju said...

I regret not living on campus while I was in college; living at home with mom and dad takes some of the fun out of it...LOL