“Can’t be held responsible She was touching her face
I won’t be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place
For the life of me
I can not remember
What made us think that we were wise
And we’d never compromise
For the life of me
I can not believe we’d ever die
For these sins
We were merely freshmen”
Did you have a chunk of life where you felt alive, fulfilled, even happy? Maybe your whole life feels that way, I don’t know. For me that was my time in college – I went to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I lived in the dorms. I took classes I wanted to take. I went out with friends. Although dorms tend to have a bad rap, I think they are what helped me the most. Being pushed into a relatively small space with a bunch of strangers, almost forced to get to know one another. I had no choice but to make friends. And I did! I had a little group of friends I hung around with, a particular friend was closest. We studied, talked, told dirty and corny jokes, danced, drank, watched “In Living Color” and “Martin,” talked about ourselves, our fears and dreams. For one of the first times in my life I really had people, in addition I came to understand that I wasn’t stupid. Until I got to college, school was a huge struggle for me and I got very poor grades, being lucky I even graduated. I thought that was due to me being dumb and just not being able to learn. I don’t remember that being challenged by many people. But in college I was able to take classes in subjects I was actually INTERESTED in, oftentimes intrigued by the subjects. Arts, sociology, black studies; bring it on! Suddenly the brain that didn’t work well was writing decent papers and reading long chunks of books. And not just studying but being deeply intrigued and moved by much of what I studied. It seemed as though the world opened up for me when I was in college. I had the chance to do something different than what I’d seen in my small home town. I had the chance to help people with my interest, intelligence, and passion. More importantly, I felt loved and appreciated by my friends. I knew they liked having me around; loved the stupid nicknames they had for me, the notes they wrote me, and the mix tapes they made during our summers apart.
I haven’t felt that consistently excited about and involved in life since college or before college. I am so grateful that I DID experience it and know I am capable of such things.