This week’s Remember the Time blog hop theme is “your first day of school.”
Frankly, I have a terrible memory and don’t remember my first day of kindergarten, junior high, or high school. But I do remember my first day of college. In fact, my husband and I recently visited my college campus for the first time together and I got to recount the following story to him.
For college I moved away from home…over 1,000 miles away to attend the University of Tulsa, a small, private school on the north side of town. I was excited and terrified. I really felt like I was standing at the front door to the rest of my life. Upon these acres I would grow wise, ambitious, and ready to take on the world.
In high school I knew my place. Fortunately for me, it was in the socially accepted marching band. Being a band geek wasn’t such a bad thing at my high school. We were well-respected by most of the student body and we liked it that way. Introverted me was never going to be a “popular” student and despite the social acceptance of band members, most of the rest of us weren’t going to be either. The “popular” took their ranks from among the usual suspects–sports players, cheerleaders, and student body government “officials.” Many of whom were actually nice, decent types–not at all like the popular kids portrayed in all the 80s and 90s teen angst films. But still, there was a distinction between us and moving to a new place where I could almost reinvent myself new was a refreshing prospect.
My first class was freshman English. I remember waking up in my dorm room, getting ready (I may have spent a little extra time primping than what is my normal, low-maintenance routine), and setting out across campus to Chapman Hall. I was probably introduced to Strunk and White that morning. The thing I remember most is what happened after class. The handsome guy I had noted sitting across from me was walking a few steps behind me as I returned to my dorm for lunch in the cafeteria. “Hey!” he said. I pulled one of those look-around-confused-then-ask-“are you talking to me?” moves. He caught up to me and we spent the next hour and a half meeting each other over lunch. He had been a high school football star. I had been a high school band geek. He was studying biology, pre-med. I was still undecided. We liked each other immediately and I couldn’t believe it. College was going to be different!
Before you start imagining a passionate love story, I soon learned that he had a cheerleader girlfriend still in high school. But he did become one of my best friends of my early college years, before our paths diverged down different paths. My friendship with him taught me one of my most important lessons of college: I realized that in high school, I had been just as prejudiced towards the “popular” crowd as I assumed they had been towards me. It was eye-opening; I was humbled. I learned to be more aware of my inclination to make assumptions about people based on limited facts. I still struggle with these assumptions today, but at least I’m aware.
View this week’s other entries here.