We just returned from a trip to Main Street in the bustling college town of Newark, Delaware. This is the first time I have been able to use the word “bustling” to describe it, because most of my previous time there was during the off-season. The town practically shuts down when school is not in session.
Today the freshmen were in full bloom. They were so adorable, wandering the street followed by their middle-aged parents and lugging around large bags filled with heavy books and toilet paper. Occasionally, there was a younger sibling shuffling behind, trying to look equally bored and, like, way mature.
We stopped for a piece of pizza at this groovy joint aptly named Peace A Pizza (they believe in making pizza, not war) and did some people-watching out the window. I thoroughly enjoyed the view, and especially enjoyed the realization that I don’t have to ever be a freshman again in my life.
I have fairly fond memories of my first year of college. I remember feeling bona fide “grown up” the first time I wrote a check for rent, bought my own groceries, and went to Village Inn at two in the morning without feeling like I needed to ask permission of anyone. I was officially in charge of myself and the new-found independence fit me like a glove.
That said, I wouldn’t want to be that age ever again. My independence also brought me my first D- (in Physical Science), my first psycho neighbors, and my first hangover. OK, so it wasn’t an alcoholic hangover, but this one night I stayed up studying—cramming, actually, for that much-hoped-for D- in Physical Science—and drank four entire liters of Dr. Pepper, chased by a foot-long sub and an entire bag of Doritos. Mmmmmmblecht. I can eat Doritos now, but the taste of Dr. Pepper still sends occasional shivers down my spine.
All of that—the good, the bad, and the burpy—danced through my memory this afternoon and reflected in the wide-eyed faces of those freshmen. So much ahead. So many times to feel unsure and bewildered. And even more times to revel in small victories—a good grade, a new friend, a mastered theory, a clearance sale on frozen dinners.
If you were here with me, I would take you to Main Street for a slice of pizza (I recommend the Margherita) and show you all the adorable freshmen and their weary parents and ask you this question: What did you learn during your first year of college? And if not college, adulthood? And do you tend to agree with the idea that Physical Science is, like, totally the worst class EVER?