I remember hearing on many occasions in high school that those were 'the best years of my life'. That confused me at the time, seeing as how I was busy being a hostess at a local restaurant, staying at school until 11:00pm for play rehearsals, and struggling through Algebra II. I was sure when I graduated that if those were 'the best years of my life', I'd been completely ripped off.
It was the same in college. 'These are the best years of our lives!' we shouted over beer bongs and other questionable activities. While that might have been an acceptable justification for my first two years, by my last two years of college I was both working and going to school full time. Best years of my life? Please.
My rose-colored glasses have adjusted quite nicely to fit my woman-in-her-thirties face. Today, when I had to go to the swanky university down the street to get my fingerprints done for teaching, I looked toward the ivory tower and thought, 'Ah, college. Those were the days.'
Within thirty seconds, however, my mood changed. I had forgotten how maze-like college campuses are. I am convinced that all universities are planned and designed by people who understand just how much macaroni and cheese is consumed on the premises, and feel personally responsible for keeping the students walking as much as possible.
And then there is parking. I've gone to three different universities, and each one required a painful deposit for a parking pass every semester. What they never tell you is that your parking pass grants you access to the parking lot, but not a parking spot. Especially when you need one. Today, pass-less, I was forced to park in front of a meter. So on top of the $55 I just spent to clear my credential, the $85 I just spent to apply to be credentialed in another state, and the $30 I spent to get my fingerprints done, I spent my last two dollars in quarters to park for thirty minutes.
During my long walk to and from my car today, my mind wandered to rollerblading in my dorm parking lot my freshman year. I thought about my crazy writing teacher who actually believed I was good at what I want to do. I wondered if my mean British Lit teacher ever got over her hatred of males. I remembered going grocery shopping with my equally poor roommates and seeing how much money we could save with our Safeway Club Card. College was a lot of up and a lot of down. Like everything in life.
I suppose a woman in her thirties has to take time to reflect realistically on her past. High school was great-- parts of it. College was great too-- at times. My twenties were really fun-- for the most part. You get what I'm saying. The syllabus for Perspective 101 is custom-made, and apparently we are our own teachers. And our own students.