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!