Friday, August 27, 2010

back to school 5

Songbird hosts dorm life Friday 5

Songbird's original title, "dorm life 5" had a class and culture bias that didn't fit my experience; at first I changed it to "undergrad days 5" but wanted to make my answers broader, so I'm going with back to school 5:

1) I never actually went away to school; although some kids in my neighborhood and high school headed toward some kind of higher education, for the most part they researched, applied to schools and figured out their own ways to find scholarships, grants and work that would pay for it without much if any parental help or intervention at any stage of the way. Some kept on living in the home of their parent or parents; others, like myself, found an apartment with roommates. Nonetheless, the cats were hard to leave behind when I moved out.

2) My parent made very little fuss about my venture out into the world of higher education except to warn me there was no way I wouldn't fail miserably.

3) I have lots and lots of favorite memories of activities with schoolmates. For a few: Red Sox games at Fenway Park; Nativity Lessons and Carols at Harvard's Memorial Church that I started loving as an undergrad and later enjoyed as a seminarian; weekday evening Celtics games at the old Boston Garden; driving up the shore (North Shore of Boston) after church on Sundays to enjoy the beach or all the way to Gloucester for seafood and boat views; rush tickets for Friday afternoon Boston Symphony concerts. Where now are the friends I enjoyed those activities with?

4) Among necessities of college life that seem hilariously anachronistic these days would be lining up outside the computer lab at 6:30 am to get terminal time--the campus was in Boston but the mainframe was far away in Amherst! Although people still have the answering machines we couldn't be without back in the day, I've had only a cellphone for several years now and find its voice mail extremely convenient. For several reasons I never opted for landline phone company's voice mail option.

5) An innovation of today I wish had been part of my undergrad years? Oh, so many. iPods (anthro professor complained longly and loudly about the outrage of people living their private lives in public by walking around wearing Walkmen/ Walkpersons all the time); flash/thumb drives/ memory sticks that have become ubiquitous only during the past few years and weren't even imagined way back when (and, of course, the ability to create better than perfunctory word processing documents not to mention the spreadsheet and art-oriented applications). Cell phones...

My college days actually were quite a while ago, but I never lived in a dorm so can't cite any currently funny-seeming dormitory rules or regs and at the moment can't recall any similar dumb expectations within the greater society. However, I'm a not-unusual combination of iconoclast and people-pleaser, so requirements I encountered tended to get flaunted or meticulously obeyed.


  1. Boston seems like a great city for college students; my son loves it!

  2. I lived at home, too. I'm sad about your parents predicting failure, which obviously you totally avoided.


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