The first thing that people asked when they found out I was returning to WCU for graduate study was, “Are any of your friends still there?” Well, no. It’s been two years since I graduated with my B.A. from the same institution. They have moved on. Most of them have, anyways.
I assumed I would make new friends. Lots of friends. That were in graduate level English classes. We could talk about rhetoric and literature and create life-long bonds over a cup of coffee and some deep, intellectual conversation. (Can you see the rose-colored lenses?) This, however, is not exactly how things have turned out.
Even though I am receiving my degree from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, a good portion of classes are offered only in Asheville on UNCA’s campus. Except for the 120-mile round trip journey I take twice a week and the obscene amount of money per gallon of gas, this aspect really isn’t all that bad. I take car rides in stride. They are unadulterated “me” time. I can turn the radio off and be alone in my thoughts or I can crank it up, stick my head out the window, sing at the top of my lungs and no one can stop me! *sigh* The sucky part of this, is that most of my classmates, in fact, live in Asheville. I live in Sylva. Not very convenient for the social life.
Also, things are just different. I know, I know. That’s a pretty “DUH” statement. I knew things would be different. Just not that different. Well, one obvious difference is the change of scenery. “My” campus contained Helder, Leatherwood and good ol’ Dodson. Now, there sits Balsam, Blue Ridge, Courtyard and a thing they had the nerve to call the Catafount… Really, guys? Every time I walk through the center of campus, I see my old dorm, run-down as she was, she was a beauty and she holds a lot of memories for me.
It is quite neat to experience a place twice over, though. I feel super nostalgic about it now, but what if I had come back to the exact same campus I had left two years ago? Would that make me miss it less? I doubt it. Change is good.
The one GOOD thing about the new scenery? STARBUCKS!