One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I never got to go away to school and have the full college experience. My husband Juan got to be at Villanova when the great Rollie Massimino, was the basketball coach, and has seen his alma mater win at least two NCAA basketball championships in 1985 and 2016. Alexis went to the same high school where Tim Tebow played baseball and football winning a State Football Championship with him as quarterback, and then followed Tim to the University of Florida where the Gators won two National Championships and the Heisman trophy, for throwing 29 touchdowns and rushing for 21 more, the most in in SEC history. Which leads me to Justin, a sophomore at Auburn with two National Championships in football, one before I was born, but the last one in 2010 with Cam Newton along with twelve undefeated seasons.
Last week at Auburn, for fraternity parent’s weekend and a big win against Mississippi State that places Auburn first in the SEC West, was a little bittersweet as I watched tens of thousands of loyal fans, alumni, students, and next generation attendees set up hundreds of tents for tailgate parties, one more elaborate than the next. The whole town of Auburn electrifies with excitement when it’s football season. All differences are set aside on Saturday, and everyone there is unified by two things, love of Auburn football and the dislike for that other school in Alabama. They even let you toilet paper the trees in the city square when they win!! Everyone walks around greeting you and saying goodbye to you with the secret password of “War Eagle”. Everyone from newborns to centenarians, are adorned in burnt orange and navy blue, and I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t expressed how much they love being there. What’s not to love?? It’s beautiful, full of Southern hospitality, and all about the school.
So over the weekend I decided that I want to go back to school there and get my Ph.D in the study of College Life, the part I missed as a commuter and multi job holder. I carefully made a list of the classes I would need to take starting with beer drinking, dancing, drinking games, corn hole, naps, life-long friendship making, all-nighters, study abroad, dorm room survival skills, fraternity and sorority life, tips to having the coolest dorm room, boys, and of course sports.
On Tuesday I called Justin to make sure my list of unfinished courses was correct since I had already completed the boring stuff that gave me a B.S. and a Master’s Degree. He said I nailed it!! And then I asked him for all that money we are paying, “What do those things teach you?” and I was shocked by his response. He said “I have learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever dreamed of, that college pushes me to be better and want to do better.” He went on to say I have met so many different people with different life experiences that I have formed life-long friendships. He also said Auburn was culturally such a special place that made him feel like home even though it’s 360 miles away from home. He went on to say that fraternity living taught him brotherhood, how to get involved, be more social, and provided support to whomever needed it. He said college was getting him ready for life as an adult and that he was learning not only work-related skills but growing personally and intellectually as well. The key to a successful college experience was finding good friends, common interests, and balancing work and play. It has also been written and stated by many that those four years of college are the best years of your life!
After that conversation and as I sit here thinking and writing this, I have now concluded that at almost 58 while I may have missed out on one hell of a good time, I still learned all those lessons on the path my life took, so there is no need to look back with regret only forward for what is yet to happen. Besides those lessons, I have learned a few more about myself, that would make that experiment a colossal failure! Here are the reasons why:
I hate the taste of beer, any and all beer, and most alcohol! You don’t get the nickname “One drink Abby” by being a party girl. I have been and always will be the designated driver.
I suck at beer or other drinking games like beer pong or flip cup even when I’m drinking iced tea!
I am totally claustrophobic, and wouldn’t make it one night in a dorm room, shoe box, prison cell, or any other room that’s made of cinder blocks, is less than sparkling clean and sanitized, or that I had to share with a complete stranger. Never mind sharing a bathroom with a mob! And…. It would have to be professionally decorated, not like the one in the photo posted above.
My dance moves have not changed since the 1980’s!
Someone would have to explain the purpose of corn hole and better still why is it called that?
I haven’t napped since I was a child when they made me take one.
All nighters? Why not study in the daytime instead of nap? I am in bed by 10pm when they would just be going out to start studying.
I am blessed to have two friends I’ve known since high-school.
Study abroad? I’d rather go abroad the Banfi way and eat and drink nice wine all the way through than get 3 credits I don’t need.
Sororities wouldn’t be for me then or now. I’m an introvert and I’m not into hugging other girls, sharing my clothing, or constantly posing for selfies.
Boys? Juan won’t let me have any! ☹ I did ask!
Sports? I love sports of every kind and now every weekend I go for the trifecta with a Gator, Auburn, and Jags, win.
Yup you guessed it, I’m too old to go back and be part of the Greek life, but I did find one Greek alphabet chart in my research online that gave this definitions for these letter that allowed me to come up with my own sorority: It’s for moms with children in college called “Pi Psi Mu” and by that chart it means “Poor Tipsy Mother.” I think I found my community at least for the next two and a half years while Justin is in private school!
P.S. I just couldn’t resist taking that antler picture adorned with alcohol containers and my face. It is the symbol of my one day of out of state college experience! War Eagle!!
P.S.S. While those college years are fun and carefree they are by no means the best years of your life. Those are yet to come in finding the love of your life, having a family, raising children, and knowing that your hard work and sacrifices along the way paid off, and because of them, you were able to create and provide a better life for your children. Now that is the ultimate joy and satisfaction of a job well done.