on commuting

I did not live on campus while attending college, hence the title of this post referring to commuting (duh Laur). I spent my four years driving to and from school. Twenty minutes each way. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes twice a week. I drove. (If you said that ala Forrest Gump we could be friends.)

Originally, I didn't want it to be that way. I planned on being a resident. I wanted to be a resident (even though the showers reminded me of ones from the concentration camps I saw depicted in movies). The first mistake was taking my father to a potential student day at Kutztown University. After leaving the cafeteria a group of potential students and parents were mooned by a bunch of Friday-happy (and let's be honest here, visibly drunk) college students. I have since heard this happens quite often at this particular educational establishment. Looking back I think its quite funny. At the time I knew it spelled bad news. My dad did not speak to my mom and I until we got home. The gauntlet was laid down. No. Kutztown. I fought back hard.

The compromise was: a local school with my father paying tuition and if I insisted on living on campus than I would pay for room and board (meaning I would go into debt). Here's a news flash to some of you: I'm stubborn. So I accepted.

Freshmen year I moved into the dorm like every other student. I cried and hugged my parents goodbye. I might have cried a lot. I instantly hated every single aspect of dorm life. Great for some, just not for me. I spent one sleepless night in that dorm thinking I was pretty much a fool. I laid awake looking at my freshly decorated room surrounded by pictures of my best friend and boyfriend. Both of whom were able to stay at home. My room mate, if after a day you can call her that was just not me. I think she was dismayed at the size of the tv I brought. Or my lack of refrigerator stock. Regardless, I've never slept in the presence of a complete stranger. It 'twas weird. Unsurprisingly I wasn't invited to accompany her to breakfast/lunch/dinner the next day. Must have been the giant eff you written on my forehead. Here's another news flash: I wear my emotions on my face like a giant neon blinking sign. Anyways...

The second night I walked my butt to my car in the dark (this may not seem like a big deal but the Eagle Talon was quite far away) and drove home to my own bed and slept like a champ. My mom shook her head at me when I walked in the door and gave me an I told you so look.

The third day I marched into the dean's office and said peace out I'm going home. Not quite like that but man that would have been cool. My parents moved me out. I smiled. I was back home. Kindly the college let this little mess go without charging me anything. The embarrassment followed me for little bit but that's ok. I got my own bed. My mom's home cooking. A personal laundromat (my mom spoils us). A pool. Parents who were pretty lax with my comings and goings. And I only had to be on campus some days three hours. Winner winner. I. Was. Happy.

Four years passed and I never once regretted my decision to move out that third day. I intensely hated campus life. I knew it was wrong for me. When I did finally move out of my parents house 5 years later I moved in with my new husband. So that was pretty neat.

I don't think I missed out on the college experience. If you're thinking that means staying up to all hours drinking I certainly did that on occasion (see above to understanding lax parents. I may need to do a future post about my parents and honesty and trusting their kids). I didn't have to eat crappy food. I didn't gain the freshmen fifteen. I had a few friends here and there and I was content with that. The deal my father put on the table was accepted by all four of my siblings. On graduation day all four of us got our diplomas debt free. And that my friends you cannot put a price on.

I didn't walk at my graduation (because I think those ceremonies can be intensely boring and I had my party to attend to). I didn't make a litany of friends. I didn't go to parties every night of the week (let's be honest LVC has no such thing). But I was just fine with all that. I did get a decent education and figure out what I wanted to do - which is really the point of college I think. I did meet Matt too.

Not to let this post take a turn to Negative Town, but I can't think about my freshmen year of college without thinking about that day in September. When the first plane hit the Twin Towers and I was at home with my parents, watching them go about their day, I was exactly where I needed to be and where I should have been. I never looked back. Because that's what's important. Family. Spending time with them. Being there with them in the moment. If I had still been on campus that day what's the first thing I would have done? Go. Home.