Sunday, September 20, 2009

The College Days(Part 1)

With the beginning of fall I feel like it's an appropriate time to reflect on the college years. College was a great time, but during that last semester I was ready to move on. It's interesting to me how people miss it so much, almost not being able to accept it's over. The fact is it is like anything else in life, it has an ending.

Fun doesn't end after college, in fact in some ways it's more fun cause you have money. I don't buy the notion that you have to suddenly wake up and be responsible and stop drinking after college. You should take steps in cutting down, but you can't expect to wake up the day after graduation a new person. Life doesn't have to change unless you want it to. That is until you are married with kids, then that life is over for good.

It is true though that there is no other time in your life like college. I remember always hearing that it will never be the same, and now I realize that is true. It's not that it is bad, it's just different. You meet a ton of new people, hang out with them for four years. You keep in touch with some, but many you never see again. Kind of sad when you think about it.

College is a time like no other. It's the last time everyone is on the same playing field. It's a four year safety net from the real world. We're supposed to go to college for an education, but let's be honest, it's all about how we grow as a person. I remember when my parents left that late August day. I looked at the massive campus in front of me scared as hell, but excited too. Starting over is always tough, but especially when you are in a different state and don't know anyone. I think the moment your parents leave the dorm your adult life begins.

Each year of college took on a different theme for me. Freshman year was all about adjustment. Adjusting to living with a roommate, adjusting to doing my own laundry, basically adjusting to having the freedom to do as little or as much as I wanted. Sophomore year was the party year. Junior year saw my first serious relationship, senior year the year of the wing man.

Let's start at the beginning. Freshman year was awkward for me. I knew no one and had to adjust to living with a person in a small little dorm room. Thankfully my roommate was a really chill kid and also happened to have a girlfriend who lived a few floors down, so essentially I had my own room for most of the year. I'm a loner at heart, what can I say. That first year I took classes on insects and natural disasters. I met a 23 year old hippie named Nat, who to this day is one of the chillest guys I've ever met. He'd cook up food for me and a couple girls from upstairs and we'd watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force every night during that spring semester. I played ball at Boyden gym in the winter, and at the Southwest courts in the couple months it was nice out. I witnessed campus riots after Red Sox games where the true meaning of being an angry Boston Sports fan was put on display. I went to my share of frat parties which were in retrospect, a lot like the Guards in Georgetown; hot, crowded, and dirty. The only difference was the beer was cheaper. I also probably told the story of why I chose to come to Umass about a 1,000 times. For those of you who don't know, I wanted to get out of Virginia and I figured Amherst was a lot like Cape Cod. All Massachusetts people are laughing right now.

Sophomore year was probably my most "college year." Let's just say my floor liked to do their share of partying. The good thing is, for the most part we all got along and no one got seriously injured. I lucked out again with another great roommate in Taylor Buckoski. He was 6'8 so everyone would always ask him if he played basketball. I'm not the tallest guy anyway, but looked like a smurf next to him. I also met one of the most unforgettable people I've ever met that year in Erik Draugsveld, or "Draugs" as we called him. To this day he is probably the most unique person I've ever met, a true Viking at heart. He would go on these philosophical rants that may have been far fetched, but were interesting all the same. Meeting someone like Draugs is the reason I went to Umass. There is no way I would have met a guy like that in Northern Virginia. At the end of that year I would meet my first serious girlfriend(Shannon), my best friend for life(Jim), and the person that is most like me(Steve). Steve Perry, I would never have though I'd meet someone that loves 2pac,Phil Collins and basketball as much as me. A lot of people say they like 2pac and Phil but it only takes a few minutes to know they aren't true fans.

Sophomore year was a year I'll never forget. The Red Sox and Patriots won titles that year, and I was on campus to see the deciding game 7 win against the Yankees to cap off the greatest comeback in playoff history. I even delivered pizza for a month missing the entire Super Bowl, on my first day at work. In retrospect I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I will forever hold a soft spot for all delivery drivers. My car smelled of pizza for at least a year after that. Sophomore year was the year I broke out, the year that changed my life forever.

Well that is part 1. I've probably left out a ton but I'm sure I'll be back to this topic in the future. Look out for Part 2 later in the week. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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