Monday, August 23, 2010

nine

When my two eldest little cousins were born, I couldn't drink, I couldn't vote, I couldn't drive, I hadn't reached Teenager Status...  Actually, you probably couldn't even categorize me as a "tween" - although I'm such an old codger now that I don't really have a good grasp on what constitutes a "tween."  

I was nine - I'd yet to see an entire decade pass when they entered this world and now they're off to college and I am officially an old person with a husband and a mortgage and a car payment and a drawer full of faded sorority T-shirts that I may or may not still wear to the gym even if it's not laundry day.  

Nine years ago today, they were nine, and I was off to college.  Specifically, nine years ago today, I moved into Babcock Hall on South Campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Third floor up (the first and second floors were filled with boys, if you can imagine that delight!), right wing, fifth door on the right.  My pot-luck roommate had already moved in and, boy, was she not kidding about loving the color purple. 

Nine years ago today also happened to be my new neighbor's nineteenth birthday.**  She was the very first person I met on my very first day of college.  She was a very blond, very perky cheerleader from Georgia who ended up in my Psychology class and always asked to copy my notes, which annoyed the hell out of me.  Nine years later, she also happens to be one of my most cherished friends in the entire world... just another reminder of how time changes our opinions and our views and our lives - usually for the better.  

And while this post may seem overly reflective and/or like some crazy attempt for me to announce my newly-discovered passion for numerology, it's more of a marvel at all the little, seemingly inconsequential things that have changed, along with the obvious big ones, in nine years.  By way of example, when I started college in 2001...

- I lugged an entire under-the-bed bin full of VHS movies halfway across the country.  I didn't own a DVD until I was 21. 


- I still used floppy discs to save anything I composed on the computer.  


- I took all my notes by hand.  And I nerdily looked forward to the start of every new semester so that I could purchase a new 5 Star 5 Subject Notebook (with the manila folder dividers!).  


- WFU was the "Most Wired Campus in America."  Every student had the same huge, boxy IMB Thinkpad with the same software on it.  We also all had "wireless cards" that had to be installed any time you unplugged an ethernet cord... Your wireless connection was always shoddy (although it helped if you took out your card and blew on it, Ninetendo-Game-Style), but it was unbelievable to be able to check your email outside on the Quad.  It was my very first experience with a laptop and, really, my very first experience using email every day.  


- There was no texting.  My very first text was sent while studying abroad in Spain - it was all the rage with our European peers.  Even back in the States, I never texted regularly until after graduation. 


- Cell phone plans were limited.  I cannot count the number of times I was chastised for going over my Day Time Minutes or wracking up roaming charges.   


- A gentleman by the name of Petey Pablo penned a ditty that became quite popular in North Carolina.  All of a sudden, frat boys everywhere were taking their shits off, and then "twisting 'dem round 'der hands, spinning 'dem like a helicopter."  Or some shit. 


- I could spend hours thinking up clever AIM Away Messages.  I could spend hours reading other people's clever AIM Away Messages.  And I could spend hours psycho-analyzing my long-distance boyfriend's (or, let's face it, my so-not-my-long-distant-boyfriend-crush's) AIM Away Message. 


- I did not own a pair of designer jeans.  I didn't know anyone who did own a pair of designer jeans.  The pinnacle of coed fashion involved black pants from Express, Rainbow flip-flops, Northface windbreakers, Greek jerseys, and Herve Chapelier bookbags.  Unless we were tailgating.  Then we went all out with the sundresses and pearls.  


- Digital cameras were for techies (and my father, who owned what had to have been the World's First and Largest Digital Camera).  Which means most of my photos from my early college years are courtesy of Party Pics. 


- My beverage of choice involved Malibu Spiced Rum.  Sutter Home White Zin = Sophistication in a Solo Cup.  People drank Shmirnoff Ice in a non-ironic fashion


- There was no Facebook or MySpace.  


- There was this new thing called "Spinning" offered at the gym.  And it sucked. 


- I frequently Asked Jeeves. 


- No problem couldn't be solved with Tavern Crab Dip, a Cookout milkshake, a bagel sandwich from Chesapeake, and strong cup of coffee at Mary's Of Course. 

Lots of Little Stuff.  And Big Stuff.  Some Big-Big-BIG stuff too.  

Nine years.

Feels like a blink. 

**Happy Birthday, Lyndz!  If I had it to do all over again, I would have gone to that PKA party with you on Night One instead of that lamesauce comedian with the puppets who was part of the "Official Orientation Nighttime Entertainment."  I also wouldn't have been such an uptight bitch about letting you copy my notes.  XO

28 comments:

  1. I love this post. I started college in 1999, kiddo, and my cell phone was so big it wouldn't fit in my purse. (I only turned it on when I was in my car, of course.) And I still miss life before Facebook!

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  2. My gosh, thanks for the trip down memory lane. It's all so, so true and yet it feels like forever ago. It really wasn't!

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  3. I started college six years ago, and many of the things you list were an integral part of my freshman year (DVDs, facebook, digital cameras...) Funny how different things can be only three years later.

    (And as someone who also went to college in North Carolina, I miss Cookout like CRAZY.)

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  4. awww! I started college 9 years ago today too and totally met my bff's and we ALL DRANK smirnoff ice in a non-ironic way.

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  5. i love this post. we are so similar in our college experiences! i started college the same year as you. i actually didn't get a laptop until i was 21 and after i had already graduated. i took all notes by hand in class on college ruled filler paper. my cellphone was large and clunky and i would *always* go over my minutes.

    express black pants? HELLO? did we go to the same school. these were all the rage at UT knoxville. and i also have several pictures form BOPP - or the sorority photographer.

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  6. this is a great post! I started college in 1999 and a lot of this takes me back! Love it!

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  7. I started college in 2001 so this was a fun post to read, so many of the same memories!

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  8. Haha, I can relate. And then I think about the NEXT nine years and all the things that could change. So crazy!

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  9. It's a walk down memory lane! What did I ever do before texting and a laptop?

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  10. So funny! I was just reminiscing with a friend about AIM away messages. Except she called it AOL Instant Messaging and I called it AIM. Haha. I used to take screenshots of the particularly funny away msgs. I had been in college for about three years when I got an email from one of my sorority sisters (through our Yahoo! group) telling us to join thefacebook.com. So I did and the rest is history...

    And the 5-Star Notebooks. I totally bought the three subject ones and used a section for each class. Oh how I miss being that organized. I miss college!

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  11. This was really fun to read and reminisce, until I realized my first day of college was 10 years ago - wth? My, how things change.

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  12. Great post! I wish I still lived in Dallas...I'd make you be in IRL friend! ;)

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  13. Um, here's to 9 more years, and the 9 after that, and the 9 after that...and on and on. HOLY COW...you knew me when I was a teenager ;-) I love you.

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  14. Super fun read! I'm with rena - 10 years ago...WOW!! :)

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  15. Wow--how times have changed! I started college 7 years ago, and I will say that I owned maybe 1 DVD, did not own a digital camera, I did not have text messaging on my cell phone--and I often left it in my dorm room because honestly, who was going to call me when I was in class? I had a laptop but it weighed so much that I wasn't really mobile!

    I remember I was home for fall break my freshman year and my mom had just gotten a camera phone. WTF? Why would you take pictures on your phone? This blew my mind.

    Now of course, my 11 year old sister has her own iMac, and iPad and two digital cameras. Sure.

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  16. I LOVE this post in every way. I walked onto campus for the first time ten years ago, and my sister sits in her first college class next week. You're right, SO much has changed! For one, I had a cranky desktop computer that cost twice as much as her trendy lime green laptop. Anyway, I loved reliving my college years through your words. Feels like a blink, indeed.

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  17. Oh I love this!! I started at Elon in '02 so this hit close to home (literally)! The AIM reference is too funny - I remember stalking away messages for hours! If you think about it, that was somewhat of the Twitter of those days. And, who doesn't love a Cookout milkshake?! :)

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  18. Love this post! Such great memories. Miss you!!

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  19. What a great post...such memories! We totally rocked the Express black pants and lived for AIM stalking also :)

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  20. I absolutely loved this post! Even though I started college in '04 I was still OBSESSED with AIM, and always spent way too much time coming up with a clever away message. Facebook was just getting started that year and I thought it was SUPER creepy and refused to use it 'til it really caught on my sophomore year.

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  21. LOVE this. I can still remember setting up my first hotmail account on the ZTA hall, I was clueless. It makes me so sad to think that it was NINE years ago that I started college...especially if I see someone's facebook with the such and such university class of 2014, talking about feeling old!

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  22. this might be my favorite post of all time from you. so many crazy things have changed since those "old" days its shocking!

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  23. What a fabulous trip down memory lane! And I love how you connected it all to what is happening now with the cousins going to college.

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  24. i'm thinking ditto to all of the above ... my baby sister (who is 9 years younger than i) moves into Elon on Friday and I have a feeling I'll be a bundle of emotions and a walk down memory lane. we had those air cards too that i totally blew on nintendo style.

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  25. ps: my bachy girls trip was last weekend and while shopping for our current beverages of choice i mentioned to my freshie suite-mate that i should buy her smirnoff and maikes hard lemonade in a non-ironic way as it was the first thing she bought with her fake id ... i get a headache just thinking of it!

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  26. loved this post! I work for a university (my alma mater, in fact), and have been so ridiculously reminiscent this week as the new crop of freshmen are moving in. My move-in day was six years ago last week, but it seriously feels like time does nothing but speed up. And I see freshmen and think, "are you 11??!" they look SO young!

    when I began, facebook had JUST started... it was still an exclusive-to-these-13-universities thing, and Twitter was obviously not in existence. The outfit du jour was either designer jeans or tempo shorts, rainbows or uggs, north face if the temperature was below...

    I convince myself that not much has changed, but I'm sure if I parked my happy little ass on campus, I'd witness some new ongoings, new heinous wardrobe choices (anyone remember the cheap, nasty, highlighter fluorescent shorts that were like 8 bucks at academy, and were popular for all of 6 seconds? sick.

    okay, I'm stopping. reminiscent rant over.

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  27. spot on with the express black pants. i'd like to add black steve madden wedge sandals to that list.

    i was the class of 2003, so i really appreciate your nostalgic look back!

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  28. Love your post and the memories of how much things have changed- I hate to admit but its been about 14 years since college (time flies) but I can still relate- thanks for sharing...

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happy little comments!