It is now August, meaning it is almost September. And as all teachers (and parents) know, this means "Back to School" time! As a teacher, I both dread and look forward to the start of a new school year. There is quite a bit of work to do, but it is also a fresh start: new students, new ideas, etc.
Preparing to go back this year caused me to reflect back on the summer of 1999, when I was "going to school" myself. This was the year beginning joyful experience at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). The year when I would leave the life I knew and embark on an adventure. When I think back to momentous "back to school" occasion, I am reminded just how much things have changed in the last 10 years. Here are some examples from my college years:
1) My mom and I drove over listening to a book on tape. Do cars even have tape decks any more? Also, I was elated over my brand new (gigantic) desk top computer. The thing was huge, covering most of the desk in my dorm room. Laptops are way more convenient, especially for studying. It was not like I could bring my computer to Starbucks to type a paper.
2) I was equipped with a stack of calling cards, in order to make the long distance calls home. Nobody had cell phones, and even those few who did certainly would not carry them around chatting away. Junior year, I remember thinking how odd it was to see Freshman walking to class while on their cells.
3) After Rush week (now called "Recruitment") we were given white tank tops, thrown into the back of several pick-up trucks and paraded down Greek Row while Fraternity boys doused us with water. This has since been outlawed. Now after Recruitment, the girls all have a nice brunch and listen to a speech on sisterhood. Personally, I feel my experience was more fun and diffidently more memorable!
4) There were NO designer jeans! In fact, we never wore jeans when going out. Black pants or skirts were the style. Paired with a delicious sequin or other brightly colored halter, what could look better!? Oh, and don't forget the stacked-heeled boots!
5) Speaking of clothing, at my moms house the other day, I spotted a photo of myself in college wearing overalls! Yes, styles certainly have changed a great deal in the past 10 years. Secretly though, I am waiting for overalls to reemerge and still have a pair stashed at the top of my closet! They are not the most flattering of attire, but oh so comfortable.
6) Acting like an idiot when you were wasted could NOT end up as an embarrassing photo on Facebook (we did not even have MySpace). You simply had a bad night, and hoped that everybody else was also too intoxicated to recall your antics.
7) However, the picture of your embarrassing night could end up on the "Party Pics" order form. I learned my lesson one night after a friend and I thought it would be hilarious to flash the Party Pics camera man (not one of my prouder moments). Not so funny when I noticed that several guys had actually ordered the photo (pervs).
8) WSU was one of the first schools which had wireless Internet and class registration online! Friends of mine at other schools still had to register IN PERSON! Can you believe it! Craziness!
9) Smoking was allowed in bars, and so was showering once you got home, if you wanted to go to bed without your pillow reeking of cigarettes in the AM. This is one change I am glad occurred!
10) This is just a sampling of the changes that I have noticed. One thing however that has remained a constant...Sex and the City! We used to spend lazy Saturday mornings watching episode after episode. Girls today are still tuning into this enticing program, just as my friends and I did 10 years ago.
Also, this time in my life reminds me of all the of the wonderful friends I have made over the years. There are friends made in high school, who even if we have not seen each other for a time, when we do- we simply pick up where we left off. Then, there are friends made in college, bonded over nights of long conversations, break-ups, and of course- Papa John's Pizza.
These are all friends that I depend on today and have become a very important part of my life. In some ways, we are the same girls we were in 1999, looking forward to new beginnings and what lay ahead. Perhaps we are all a little older, maybe a little wiser, but still looking forward to the future.