The College Experience

Sometimes – just sometimes – I wish I had The College Experience.  

As things happened, though, I didn’t.  I attended my first college class while deployed to Japan as a 20 year old Marine serving in a fighter-attack squadron.  I should put part of that last sentence in quotation marks, since I didn’t actually attend, as there weren’t actually class meetings.  Operational F-4 units are busy places, so the consensus was to just give everyone a “B” and call it good.  I sometimes wonder what macroeconomics is all about. 

Four years later I was taking night classes while stationed in Germany.  Everything was general studies, since I had no idea where I was going with my education.  

Weekend classes in Augusta, Georgia, a few years after that.  

Community college classes in Huntsville, Alabama preceded my undergraduate degree at 39 years old, earned at a university that had only a single dormitory on campus.  Everything shut down by 6:00pm, and on-campus alumni events took priority over those for students. 

My master’s degree?  Online. Go ‘Lopes!

So when I find myself being part of someone else’s College Experience, I often wonder what I missed.  That was this past weekend.  

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is in the middle of its “Week of Welcome,” and the Land Trust was invited to take part in one of those freshman orientation “what is there to do in our community?” events.  

It was a good event, and for two hours my partner and I hosted a steady stream of brand new college students who were interested in what we had to offer.  

(Side note: We really did have a steady crowd.  The environment and outdoor recreation, I’m happy to say, is a thing right now with young people.)

It was a neat experience, talking with folks who have interests similar to mine (our table made it clear from a distance what we are all about), but with perspectives and experiences that are different. 

My favorite part?  I had twenty students sign up for our newsletter, and all of them checked the “I want to volunteer” box.  The future is looking good!

6 thoughts on “The College Experience”

  1. I like how you compare your “experiece” against the traditional. So much to reflect on when we consider “perspectives and experiences that are different”, even related to The College Experience/ I spent 2 years as a small suburban college and then transfered to a big state university. Your slice is nudging me to think about this today. I’m curious…what was the theme of your table?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always good, I suppose, to think about our formative experiences. My table was set up to introduce viewers to the major preserves held and maintained by the Land Trust (search Land Trust of North Alabama if you’re interested). It’s our hope to get folks out on the trails and enjoy the properties. “Major” means open to the public. We hold several properties for the purpose of conservation and preservation as well.

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  2. So interesting to think about “the college experience” as “typical”- I wonder if anyone has that TV version? So fascinated by all the places the Land Trust takes you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So lovely to hear that you’ll be part of a group of students’ College Experience! I also appreciated hearing about your not-so-traditional journey. I had a more traditional experience and I’m still wondering what macroeconomics is. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do hope to hear that some of them made it out to the trails during their time in Huntsville — that would be great. It’s been nearly 40 years, and I still laugh about that class!

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