I'm a lover of words, coffee and tequila. Lucky to be living my happily ever after as a wife and mom to two sweet kiddos and one crazy dog.

I love(d) college....

On the last day of clinic, I decided to take one of my clients out for breakfast at The Bagelry. For those of you unfamiliar with the UNH campus, the walk from Hewitt Hall to The Bagelry is not a long one, maybe ten minutes at most. What I didn't anticipate however, was that not all people walk quite as quickly as I do- so this turned into a long, meandering, almost 35 minute walk.  I was left to contemplate the things as we slowly ( and I mean S L O W L Y) passed by them & before long, I felt memories flooding back to me of the years I spent at UNH. 

I never wanted to go to UNH. Ever.  Both of my best friends parents worked there and the one vow we made to each other? There would be NO UNH for us. 5 years later? We're still there together.  
The years I have spent there, the stupid choices, life-altering changes..all intertwined into that campus, and it almost seems if I listen hard enough, I can hear the whispers of my memories & history surrounding me. 

As we walked, I made mental notes. There is that building where I had that 9 am Friday morning Chemistry class sophomore year...boy was that a poor choice. Directly across the street, the coffee cart where I readily & frequently parted with my last few dollars to buy coffee to get me through said early morning chem class.  A little farther down, the social sciences building where I often found myself waiting for my roommate to get out of class, bleary eyed & exhausted. 

We walked by the dorm I lived in my freshman year. It was a forced triple, and Katie & I practically bullied our third roommate out. In our defense, she owned nun-chucks & was fully capable and willing to use them. She also often wore her headphones and pretended to be listening to music, but was really listening to every conversation we ever had. When she was gone, we started living a 24-7 sleepover. We'd stay up late, marveling over TLC specials  and promising not to let the other turn into the next 1/2 ton woman as we passed our custom trail-mix of cheez-its, m&m's and popcorn across the divide between our beds. We'd argue with our boyfriends, taking our cordless phone into the hallway "for privacy" and I still remember watching the red "in use" button on the stand flicker on and off as Katie hung up on her boyfriend repeatedly & I wished I had the guts to do the same. I remember sharing a box of wine with friends on a Wednesday and walking to Store 24 for snacks at 1 am, after pausing to make snow angels. I remember crying every Sunday night, at the beginning, because I missed home, 15 minutes away. And then crying, in May, because I would miss my "roomie". 

I walked by the spot where Andrew first called me from CT, after assuring me that we would probably never talk again and how my heart soared and my pulse raced and my cheeks flushed. 

The dorm we lived in sophomore year sits right on Main Street. This is the year of college I would live over again, for fun. This was the room where I laughed until I cried, and cried until Katie was able to make me laugh again. My heart was shattered, glue back together and crushed again. It was in this room I received the phone call that my Nana had died. This is the room where I earned the nickname "sky-diver" for my infamous tumble off the top bunk. This is the room where I sat up on the phone with Andrew for hours, until Katie threw something at me to shut me up. It was also the room where he told me he had found someone else. But my phone continued to ring. 
I had more fun, made more mistakes, and laughed harder than you could ever imagine. I grew into my own skin...I stopped worrying so much.  I loved life & hated it all in the same breath. 

Across from that dorm, separated by charming little courtyard, was a fancy new dorm, that is not so fancy or new anymore. I stormed through this building when a certain friend of ours disappeared with the claim he was going to walk home to Stratham, knocking on every door that bared the name of the only other friend he had on campus. This is also the dorm where I took Andrew to one of the only UNH parties he went to. He attempted to threaten a guy twice his size over a game of beirut  and the proceeded to lock himself in the bathroom for hours. 

Oh Main Street. There is D-HOP, which used to sell dollar slices of pizza and the drunk crowd that gathered Thursday through Saturday night was beyond entertaining. We crossed Main Street to get to the apartment we used to hang out at and I'm sure if I entered that building today I would be disgusted by it, as well as flooded with mixture of embarrassing and hilarious memories. I can still recall the smell of the hallway and the stairwell, and to this day, that smell is the embodiment of my college experience. 

There is a tangle of academic buildings on the way back to Hewitt & I've experienced all of these as well. I've spent a lot of time talking about the fun things I did while at UNH, but I also worked hard too. I value my education, love going to school (pretty sure I'd be a perpetual student if  I could get away with it) and feel blessed that I made the choice of going to a school that I will not be in debt from for the rest of my natural born life. But the magical thing about college? All of it makes you grow. Forces you to challenge yourself. The classes. The friends.  The papers. The roommates. The exams. The parties. 

As we approached Hewitt again, after our breakfast, I glanced in the direction of my apartment complex where I spent my junior year. Living with 5 other girls was probably the craziest decision I have ever made, but when we weren't at each other's throats-- we were having a ball. We were a true family, and still are. Some days we couldn't stand each other, we gossiped, fought and screamed- but at the end of the day, it was all about love. When my world falls apart, when life knocks me down a few pegs? These are the girls whose phone numbers my fingers automatically find. 

College has undoubtedly helped to define me. I am certainly no longer the carefree girl that I was for the majority of the time I roamed those streets. I can't help but feel a level of nostalgia for those years, for the growing up I had to do so fast, for the things I left behind. I know when I graduate (fingers crossed) next summer, there will be tears. Tears of joy, for surviving. Of pride, for succeeding. And a few, of sadness,  for the girl I will let go of & leave behind. 

But it only takes a moment to remember, all I have gained. And I am able to laugh at the silly girl that I was & marvel at the silliest girl that I now have. 

and I wouldn't change a single thing.
 I do it all again, exactly the way I have. 

Learning Curve...

Letters to myself...