I went to Douglass College, the all girls campus at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Douglass is small, historical, and near Cook Campus. Rutgers, the main campus, is ginormous and requires transportation to get around. I lived on Douglass for four years but was home almost every weekend to see my older boyfriend at the time, who commuted to school. I loved everything about college except for sitting in traffic trying to get to class in my car.
I was at college in the mid to late 1990s. I didn't know a soul when I first moved there and I was scared s*itless. My parents and two younger brothers helped move me in on a sweltering August day. I was in one of the two crummy freshman dorms with cinder block walls and barely any space. My roommate, who I had talked to before school started but never met, was from the next town over. Almost her entire senior class was at Rutgers. She was a party animal and thought nothing of blow drying her hair or blasting the TV in our room at 2 AM. She (and her friends) were a lot of fun to go out with though. Within a week, I loved school. I loved my all girls dorm, co-ed classes, living away from home, my new friends, the nightlife, and having my car on campus.
By sophomore year, I had traveled to England and Scotland with my new best friend for a theater study abroad program. My belly button was newly pierced and I had a job working for a lawyer. I had a different roommate who I lived with until we graduated. Our dorm was much better than the previous year. All the Douglass dorms are old and supposedly haunted. I loved her and I still think about her from time to time. We became friends with other girls on our floor and we did everything together. We had breakfast and dinner together, went on spring break together, went to awful frat parties, registered for the same elective classes together, met each other's friends from home, met each other's families, dressed up for Halloween, and went to the craziest NYC Village parade. We shared boyfriend problems and developed a s*it list—a list of grievances about a particular topic when we were upset. We watched Dawson's Creek and Felicity together every week and scheduled our classes around those shows. That was also the year that my grandfather suddenly passed away. My mom called me at school on a rare Saturday there to tell me the news and I cried the whole way home.
That August I did a theater study abroad program in London and Edinburgh with one of my new college friends and other kids from another college. It was a fantastic experience, although we didn't love too much about Scotland and wanted to come home by that point. I loved London, though, and always wanted to go back.
Junior year, I was living in this really old but quaint dorm that was a former home. I had to pay a parking meter daily to leave my car on the street, which really sucked. My roommate was in England for study abroad in the spring so I had a huge room with two closets to myself. I pushed the beds together too but I missed my roommate a lot. We wrote each other letters (this was before email was really popular). My boyfriend from home was at my dorm a lot that year and I hung out with my two good friends who lived across the hall. By then, I was a sociology major, minoring in psychology and criminology. My major was on Livingston Campus, which at that time, was where all the jocks lived and was kind of crummy. Now, it's gorgeous I heard. That was the year I started my lifelong love for coffee too.
Our basement on-campus apartment senior year left a lot to be desired. However, my three roommates and I had so much fun. We threw an awesome Halloween party there. I was Gwen Stefani, complete with pink hair and my newly pierced belly button ring. That was the year I did a school psychology internship at a local elementary school. I had a great time with the kids and the guidance counselor I worked with there. I was accepted into a twelve person school psychology graduate program that year after realizing that I couldn't do much with a sociology degree. After graduation in which a Maya Angelou wannabe was the speaker, I never saw two of my roommates from senior year again. I moved back home and started summer graduate school.
I'm becoming emotional as I write this; I miss those girls a lot. We are Facebook friends but haven't seen each other in years. I love them, I spent some of the happiest years of my life with them. Never, ever again will I have that awesome night owl schedule and freedom to be with friends. I miss all the fun we had, although things got messy when two of my friends tried dating two of my male friends from home.
I have two small kids and a husband now. I was in such a pleasant bubble at that time and I didn't even know it. My college years were so far removed from the real world. I studied and went to class, but I had so much fun too. When my friends from home hung out with my friends at school, it was always a good time. One of my few regrets in life, though, is that I didn't go to college out of state. The only reason I stayed in New Jersey was because of my high school boyfriend. Yes, we dated for seven years but I should have gone to Boston, where I really wanted to be.
Writing this made me even more nostalgic for those times. The few times I was back on campus after graduation, it was so different. I would love to recapture those moments of independence, fun, coming into my own, and learning about myself. It was also the most rebellious I've ever been in my life but not in a bad way. I love Rutgers and Douglass.