I have sat here reflecting on 2008 while simultaneously browsing facebook in a nostalgic manner. I am going through my friends list checking up only on people who I haven’t seen in 3+ years. Tons of college people. As I think about, I don’t think I’ve even been back on my college campus since I graduated in May of 2004. If you asked me then, I never would have predicted I would have gone 4.5 years without going back.
I attended Franklin & Marshall College (website: http://www.fandm.edu/) and I did it the standard way… Start in August 2000, finish in May 2004, etc. I never joined a frat because I just couldn’t see myself being someone’s bitch for a whole semester. My freshman roommate (a guy named Kevin — according to his facebook, he lives in St Louis — I don’t know anything beyond that) pledged a frat called Delta Sigma Phi and, let me tell you, he got put through absolute hell. That whole second semester freshman year was insanity. He’d come back completely covered in mud after being out all night doing who knows what. I just never saw the benefit to the whole thing. I mean, sure, you get a place to hang out and some forced “friends” who you may or may not keep in touch with, but is that worth it? I think the only real benefit I ever saw from it was the future networking potential. After all, you gain a connection with a lot of other people doing it and you have a bond which might get you in the door at a job you might not be able to get otherwise. I see the point in that case. But I still don’t think it was worth it for someone like me (I kind of had a feeling I’d end up doing my own thing in some way, I just didn’t know how it would happen). I was very focused on academic results and doing the stuff they did would have totally screwed me over in that respect.
Anyway, I still had a great time at college. There was something about it that really brought out the competitive streak in me. I just felt like I HAD to get As in classes. Not in the way that I’d screw people over or spend 18 billion hours in the library — quite the opposite. I was a tutor in the Business dept (ie, I actually helped classmates!) and I rarely spent time in the library except in between some classes (if the break was short enough that it wasn’t worth going back to my apt) and during finals when I needed to bear down. I just found ways to work smarter and ways to grind out As. And I loved it. For whatever reason, it was incredibly rewarding to find a way to get an A and then see it online at the end of the semester. I am the type of person who loves defined and timely feedback on my efforts — which is possibly one reason I was drawn to poker. Just to make it clear, I didn’t do class stuff all the time. I did a lot of non-academic stuff and I definitely had my fun.
Now, looking through facebook, I am shocked by how many of my college classmates are married, engaged, working in “respected” professions or whatever. It’s so weird to think of the person I knew as a drunk to be a married doctor living in New York City. Also, lots of people from my school actually married their college bf/gf. So tons of people who I remember when they started hooking up are now married (and some of them have kids!!). Holy crap. Really crazy. Oh and, somewhat predictably, a lot of my classmates are really fat now. I can sympathize with where they’re coming from re: controlling weight in the real world, but some of them have put on a TON of weight to the point where it’s a little gross. Hopefully they come to their senses before it’s too late and they have a heart attack in <10 years.
Anyway, I guess it takes the end of the year to get me to reflect a little. Well, and that I needed to message an old college friend on facebook about our 5 year reunion this summer. I guess this is the next step for most people though. College, date, get married, have kids, kids grow up, kids go to college, retire from their job, kids have grandchildren, live out their life with their spouse, etc. It’s very weird to go through this marriage phase because you only hear about it from a distance from most of your former classmates. For the vast majority, I am either not good enough friends with them to be at their wedding or I simply can’t attend for some other reason. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a weird feeling. I guess the next major stage for me to hear about all of my friends having kids (most don’t have them yet). One thing I can say for sure is that I’m happy with my life path. I plan to be about 10 years behind most of my friends with the whole married/kids thing — I have too many things I want to do in my youth (not too many years left!) to get tied down to a single spot and kids. I think I would regret it if I gave up my freedom this early. One day though (maybe).