Five Years Out

This last weekend was my college’s 5th year reunion.

I didn’t go (mostly because it was held a few states away).

We’ll just forget for a second that 5 year reunions seem a bit excessive, and focus on the bigger scarier issue that I have been out of college for 5 years.  I’m still in denial that I’m not 21 anymore.  It was something I looked forward to for almost 19 years, and here we are, 5 years after the fact.  Time is going by far too fast for comfort.  (Also forgetting that my 10 year high school reunion is NEXT year.  WHAT?)

Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to live in California.  So, when it came to college time, I knew exactly where I was going.

The school I ended up at was Saint Mary’s College of California, a school of about 3000 undergraduates located 20 miles east of San Francisco. Most people have never heard of it, aside from our Australian dominated basketball team, the Gaels.

I really believe that every kid needs to get away from home for college.  I was very fortunate to have parents who not only didn’t make college a choice, but also didn’t make going to our local school a choice.  I know a lot of times the financial resources aren’t there, but having to basically start over in a place where I didn’t know anyone was probably just as valuable of a lesson as reading Machiavelli and discussing what Pythagoras was thinking when he came up with that theorem (SMC was a “liberal arts” college…we did a lot of discussing).

I made some wonderful friends and had some wonderful times out there.  While there definitely are the future “real housewives” types with bleached blonde hair and more make-up products than I could ever imagine, I also met some of the most genuine and intelligent people, and I’m glad I got to spend 4 great years with them!  I’m sad that we all live so far apart now, but I know I’ll always be able to consider my college buddies good friends!

I  graduated in 2007 which you may remember as kind of a rocky time in the history of California economy.  Plus, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I ended up coming home, and while I was pretty bummed initially, everything happens for a reason. Less than a year later, I met Aaron, and well, I think we all know how that turns out.  And Albuquerque has been a decent place to start a career.  Cost of living is low, there aren’t 400 people showing up for each job opening, and we’re near our families, which I think is important during the first few years of marriage.

But I will always look back at college as probably one of the best times of my life.  And digging way back through all of those old facebook photos and reliving memories is pretty fun!

So, to the Saint Mary’s College class of 2007, hope these last 5 years have treated  you well, and I hope you remember our time in school as fondly as I do!

Field trip to Brazil!

11 thoughts on “Five Years Out

  1. 5 years? Feeling old? I’m buying airfare today for my 20-year high school reunion next month. I still feel like I’m as YOUNG as you, though. Right with you on how much fun college was, though. I went to a decent-sized state school (Kansas State University), so it was different there, but it was still an absolute blast. The “college experience” is so important to get. You have the whole rest of your life to act like a grownup, no sense doing that when you’re 18!

    • I figure half the people would be like, uh, stop complaining about being old, and the other half will say, wow, she IS old. I’m mostly just amazed at how fast life moves. And yeah, 18 is far too young to be a real grown up. I feel very fortunate that I got the opportunity to be an “independent” kid for 4 years!

  2. Last fall was my twenty-year high school reunion and I still shudder to think about the fact that time went by that fast. I still feel like I’m in my twenties, not about to turn 39 in two months! Ugh.

    I do wish Facebook had been around back in the day, it would be great to look back at all of those pictures and times, not to mention status updates! 🙂

    I agree with you that going to college away from home is key to really growing up. I went to college a little over an hour away from home but that would be the minimum! Even that small distance was a great experience and my parents and I knew that they couldn’t swing by whenever they wanted to. I think I visited home about once a month. Man, college was a great time!

    • I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow, getting ready for my 20 year high school reunion. Time just keeps flying by!

      When I first got facebook, it was only open to college students at “approved” colleges, so it was a lot less censored than it is now. When more non-college people started joining (aka parents), suddenly everyone had to go and take down pictures and delete status updates! Luckily I was already in my senior year when the status update function was added, so I mostly had the sense NOT to say incriminating things!

  3. I was (and still am) such a home body, so going away to college was huge for me. I went to a school that was about three hours away from home, which ended up being the perfect distance. The school I went to was in the suburbs of Chicago, which was a huge difference from my population-of-2000 hometown, but I experienced so much and grew on my own.

    Congratulations on your five year anniversary! Looks like you had an amazing four years!

    • Good for you! It was definitely hard only going home every few months (my freshman year I didn’t go home until Thanksgiving which was such a long time), so sometimes I wish I had been closer. But it really forces you to be a stronger person, and it sounds like you had that same experience!

  4. I LOVED going away to college! Best decision I ever made! So I completely understand. After school, I moved to NYC, but being a Californian at heart, I needed to come back. Plus, when I met my husband I felt more ready to settle down. I had experienced a LOT moving away and am so happy to have gone through it all.
    Congrats on your anniversary! Time flies, doesn’t it! Here’s to the next chapters of your life… : )

    • I bet living in NYC was really exciting! I’ve tried to convince my husband that we need to live there, even just for a year to say we did, but he’s all into financial responsibility and savings accounts and stuff, so it might not happen… And yeah, there were days when I was sad to be so far from home (didn’t help that I had a high school boyfriend back home for 3 out of the 4 years), but I’m really happy that I did it!

  5. I agree with Sam F., it’s been 14 years since I graduated high school! That aside, when I graduated with my first degree at 21 from a university in the city I was raised, I regretted no going away to study even though my university experience was awesome. Then, four years later, I got accepted to an education program out of province, and I got my opportunity! I met so many wonderful people, and ended up staying in that city and getting a job. That was until I moved to Scotland, but that’s a whole other story 🙂

    • At least you’ve experienced living in different places! I imagine you’re experiences with living in a whole different country far outweigh my experiences living in a different state (though California is its own very kind of special). And if it was a good school that you went to initially, even better!

      • It was a good school, both universities were. By the time I was 26 though, I had just finished the first year of my second degree; moving to Scotland didn’t happen until 29. At 32 years old, I’ve been to many countries and seen many things, but a lot of that didn’t happen until I was 28 or older. It will happen for you to, and while you want to visit foreign places, I want a nicer car (I drive a 98 VW Polo hatchback!).

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