There are movies, books and TV shows about the college years. Many people seem to consider the college years the best of their lives.
I used to feel that most of this hubbub was overstated. College is a great experience, but surely I will continue to grow and learn after I leave, right?
Recently, however, I’ve been changing my mind. Though it seems a little premature to designate a part of my life as the best I’ll ever have, when else will I get to study things I love, wander through a library I’ve come to know, visit an art show and hear classical music preformed all in one day?
It was at last week’s music department recital that I changed my tune toward the college years. Sitting high up in the music building hearing a friend sing opera and students perform classical pieces, I was struck by how unique this experience is.
I am a commuting resumer transfer. What that string of “Mills words” translates to in real life is that I won’t be on the campus for very long, and while I am studying here I am not actually on campus much of the time.
Like most older, off-campus students, I lead another life-mine is, unfortunately in San Jose-with family and friends who aren’t part of the Mills community. Like many other students in today’s world I work about 20 hours a week. This doesn’t leave me enough time to really enjoy what the college experience is about.
Perhaps that is why I was so slow to figure out that this is a special experience.
Only last week did I finally make to the beautiful Mills art museum for the first time and had a friend show me the gorgeous, if hidden, backdoor to the building. I am really beginning to feel like there is so much I am missing.
Here, there is the opportunity for each of us to do so much, and sometimes I feel as though it is slipping past me. Maybe that is why others get misty-eyed about their college days, it is remembrance of those choices and experiences they didn’t have, as well as those that they did.
No, college is not the definitive “best years of my life.” But it is a time, that when I stop to take notice, there is opportunity for growth and enrichment that I will, most likely, not find again.
I’ve not been the best student nor have I taken advantage of this place the way I should have. I’ve not stopped to reflect enough about how lucky I am to be studying things that I am interested in.
There are always the demands of work and home to distract me. I’ve not been to the museum enough, nor to enough plays.
I graduate next semester, and I won’t say that I promise to do more of those things next time around. There will always be work-a girl’s got to earn money some how.
I will promise this though-I will always take the love of learning that has been nurtured here into everything I do. I guess that way my time in college will always be part of my life.