As my collegiate career nears its end, I’d like to think I could look back on the last few years and smile.
And for the most part, I can. For every bad memory or experience I’ve had in my time at Castleton, I’ve had several good ones.
I was here when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and watched the campus celebrate with cheers and flaming Yankees hats.
I remember waking in the early hours of my freshman year to the sound of jackhammers and dump trucks, as the construction crew hastily built the then-brand-new Castleton
I remember waking up early on a Saturday morning and taking a road trip to Taco Bell in Glens Falls, N.Y. with my now fiance before there was one built in Rutland.
I remember Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” Dispatch’s “The General,” and the endless looping of Coldplay’s “Clocks” bellowing out of my Adams Hall suite on a daily basis.
It was good times for the most part. There were the occasional parties that got out of control, the friends who drank too much, the occasional flaming ping-pong balls, and the all that social drama that inhabits any college, but for the most part – it was good.
But as bittersweet as it is to be leaving Castleton, especially as the school is about to complete its Student Initiative plan, I must say I’m ready to leave.
The familiar faces I started college with have all moved on. The social cliques of freshman year have disbanded, as time and other obligations become more important than getting together for a few (dozen) rounds of beer pong.
Now there’s work, job hunting, bills to pay, and a new life in the “real world” to worry about. There’s little time for the ol’ tomfoolery anymore.
As I walk around campus now, complete in its pretty summer greens and flowery hues, I see a lot of younger students, freshman or sophomores, who are still in that glorious carefree mindset. Their biggest concern at this point in their lives is trying to find someone of legal age to buy them booze each night.
Me, I’m past it, I suppose. I don’t want to come off as the stuffy, snoot-nose elitist type who suddenly became too good or too cool to act out once in a while. But it’s just not a priority in my life right now.
Did I grow . . . old?
Everyone goes through phases in life. I went through my teen and college phase just like everyone else, but now, I’m onto the next phase: finding a career I enjoy, moving away from the state I grew up in, and settling down with the future wife.
It’s scary — but in a good way.
I actually feel pretty damn prepared to face the world waiting on the opposite side of graduation. I’ve been living off campus for several years, worked full-time through much of school, and I’ve been good about paying my bills and living within my means.
I’ve got an awesome resume courtesy of the college and have contacts with several employers in my field.
Plus, I get to work at a beer-brewing magazine for the summer. I mean, come on. I get paid to write about beer. You couldn’t ask for a more fun job than that straight out of college.
So yeah – I’m a little scared, but I’d rather be scared than comfortable at this point in my life. It’s too soon to be completely comfy. Right now, my life’s a lawn chair – good for the moment, but not something you’d want to have in your living room.
To quote the immortal words of Morgan Freeman: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.”