I see that many schools in my part of the United States are starting their school years again. The college in my hometown starts next week so we will have 18 to 23 year old college students trickling in throughout this week. I actually enjoy my hometown more when the college students are back. I used to go up to the 24 hour Wal Mart during the school year just to see what the college students were up to. Many college age people spent their overnight hours at the Wal Mart just doing goofy college aged stuff. I know I’m old enough now I wouldn’t pass as a college student but I do find the overnight crowd watching entertaining. Reminds me of when my friends and I used to do similar things when we were in college. I’ll probably restart that tradition when school gets going. My friends and I often went to the all night diners on Halloween to see college people and older in their costumes. I didn’t go to the bars on Halloween because the music was always too loud and I don’t deal well with drunk people.
I readily admit to being more nostalgic for my college years than my high school years. For one, most people in college were there because they wanted to be and not because they were legally forced to. I loved college because I, for the first time in my life, wasn’t penalized for being smart and eccentric. I met some eccentric and cool people who made me look neurotypical. One of my friends in college was an incredibly intelligent girl who made me look like I was mentally standing still. We were in a class together that involved lots of writing and class discussions. She always made it a point to keep everyone on our toes and sharp. She had less tolerance for ignorance than I. I miss her and I regret that we had a falling out. I had another cool friend in that class that was really sharp and a real pleasant girl to be around. She had a kind word for everyone regardless. She had her beliefs but she wasn’t as abrasive about hers as I could be about mine. Especially before I became diagnosed I tended to be as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face when I thought someone’s ideas weren’t sound. I never learned the fine art of diplomacy until my college career was almost over.
I enjoyed the all night conversations in the dorms. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to be up until sunrise talking with my roommate, my neighbors, or just random people in the dorm and still be on time for an 8 am class after a couple cups of cowboy coffee. My best friend in college managed to sweet talk the dorm dad into allowing him to have a coffee maker in his dorm. I slept a lot in the afternoons so I could be up all night with the rest of my dorm. I spent a lot of time playing pool and trivia games at the student center. I got to where I was decent at pool but developed a reputation for being so good at trivia games that no one wanted to play me. My friends and I played lots of board games. Trivial Pursuit, Axis and Allies, and Risk were quite common for us. We didn’t play a lot of card games until I moved off campus for my senior year. I didn’t go to any wild fraternity parties as I went to a Christian college and we had an officially dry campus.
I did pledge a fraternity in my freshman year and was active for a couple years. I went independent in my junior year once it became obvious to me that I had to spend more time studying if I wanted to graduate, especially with a mental illness and changing my major. I didn’t do any sports in college besides intramural softball. I still managed to do lots of flag football and ultimate frisbee on the campus green when I was in school. Ruined many t-shirts and gym shoes because of playing in the rain and mud too many times. They should make ultimate frisbee an Olympic sport. It is a real sport. I knew a couple guys who got broken ankles in those games. I enjoyed lifting weights in the school fitness center. I didn’t drive much in college except for road trips. My roommate and I went to New Mexico over Thanksgiving break one year to visit his long distance girlfriend. My best friend and I went trout fishing and hiking in the Black Hills a couple times during Spring Break. Sometimes we’d go to the next college town over and hit the cheap movie theaters. Since most of my friends weren’t drinkers we didn’t do the bars in college. Besides the music in bars is far too loud for any kind of conversation.
If there is a point to my ramblings about my college years back in the pre wireless internet ages, it is in spite my problems with mental illness I still had a good time in college. I made some pretty cool friends I still hear from and have some pleasant memories. I was able to have a better time in college than high school because we were just more accepting of other people and their quirks. People accepted me despite my issues and problems and I accepted them too. I don’t think back on those years often enough. But I certainly feel good when I do.