Taking my high school senior daughter Gabrielle on visits to college campuses brings me back to my own college days.
Whenever we take these tours, certain stops along the way take me on a flashback to my four-year tenure at St. Bonaventure University from 1982 to 1986. Visiting their campus libraries reminds me of my work study job at the Friedsam Library front desk (I defy anyone to have ever had a better work study job!) Their bookstores take me back to the days of shopping for the best bargains in textbooks and rarely finding anything I would consider a "bargain." Seeing their dorm rooms beams me back to our own "Sickbay," manned by three nerdy Star Trek (The Original Series, since it was the only one they had back then) fanatics who watched the 1 a.m. repeats from our triple bunk beds every night.
The campus media was a great experience, and in many ways more strict than the real world soon to come. Over the years I wrote stories and drew pictures for the newsletter for incoming freshmen, the yearbook, the newspaper, the alumni magazine and the poetry publication -- plus a work study position my freshman year as managing editor of something called the Biblical Theology Bulletin that I barely remember at this point other than that the title looked good on my resume.
The newspaper was probably my biggest claim to fame, as the editors were renowned for their harsh rewriting of our work. I remember when I finally got to the status where they would run my stories unchanged -- I really thought I made something of myself then! And when our advising communications professor had a story he wanted covered, he told the editor to assign it to me. That was quite a pat on the back ... maybe not as cool as getting paid, but rewarding never the less.
Seeing today's students' modern computers brings a chuckle as I think about the antics we employed as some of the earliest "hackers" on our own stone age-yet-state-of-the-art-for-the-mid-1980s machines. Nothing malicious, mind you ... just in good fun, like the time we sent a non-ending spooled greeting to our buddy that flashed over and over on every screen in his computer science room during his class. It's a good thing my kids don't read my blog because I always tell them I didn't do anything but study in college.
Of course, the most important part of college is broadening your social skills. When it came to meeting the ladies, there wasn't anybody on campus with a better vantage point than myself manning at the library front desk. That's because I had that magic button that could instantly lock the exit turnstile so I could play security guard and check backpacks for possible stolen books. And then prod for a name and number. I also had control of the PA system, so it wasn't unusual for Seymour Butz to get paged to the front desk for a phone call. And we really did have a Mike Hunt in our class, so we often had fun at his expense.
It was a lot of good times, some not-so-good times, a lot of work and a little fun now and then when I could sneak it into my busy schedule.
And the college visits will continue as I get to do it all again with my youngest daughter, high school junior Samantha. I would have thought it would get easier as time goes on, but it actually seems the other way around ... it's harder as I get closer to that empty nest day. But I see other people living through it, so I know I will too, even if the girls refuse to let me go to college with them.
I think it would be fun, except for the going to classes and taking tests and writing papers parts. I'm getting too old for that stuff.