A College Girl at Heart

by Abby on August 27, 2012

college kidsI’ve spent a good part of my life on college campuses. First as the daughter of a professor, then for various summer camps and classes, then as a college student myself. Even now when I step onto a college campus, I feel a sense of peace and possibility. All those lush, well-tended grounds and important-looking buildings. Lecture halls and libraries, cafeterias and dorms, all teeming with young, intelligent people driven by their love of learning and wearing pajama pants in public.

We live near a university now, and this past weekend was move-in day for the freshmen. As far as the eye could see, there were cars piled high with milk crates and duffel bags, 18- and 19-year-olds clutching backpacks and books, criss-crossing the campus in pairs and small groups. Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond were choked with parents and students snapping up bath towels and area rugs.

I felt a flutter of anxiety and excitement for these kids. I spotted a girl who would’ve been me – younger-looking than most, awkward, maybe a little unsure about what she was getting into but still happy to be there. On her own for the first time.

I remember going shopping with my mom to pick out towels and sheets. I may still have the faded, threadbare pink and turquoise linens in a closet somewhere. I was equally excited about the booklet of course offerings. Like a menu of exotic dishes, smelling of fresh ink and high-quality cardstock, it piqued my appetite with its descriptions of fascinating-sounding classes. Anthropology, art history, astronomy – I could fill a semester with the A’s alone.

And the school supplies… Is there anything better than a fresh notebook and a pack of brand-new pens? Don’t even get me started on the Post-It products.

After I saw those freshmen, I found myself buying a new shower curtain. Just for a change, to start the school year with something new. I came home and cleaned out my desk and my files. Swiped one of my first-grader’s new notebooks. (Not the Angry Birds one. I’m not that mean.)

I may have moved off campus, but I think there’s still some college girl left in me. I do love my pajama pants.

NEWS O’ THE DAY: Why should the kids reap all the back-to-school bounty? If you’re itching to learn something new and finally have some time for YOU now that summer’s over, I’d love to have you join me for my 6-week online writing class, Personal Essays that Get Published, which starts next Weds. Sept. 5 and goes through Oct. 17. Level 1 is open to writers of all levels, anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer and a desire to write about your life. For more info, go here. For testimonials and to sign up, go here.

For any PEGP Level 1 alums reading this, Personal Essays that Get Published: Level 2 — also beginning Sept. 5 — is only open to writers who’ve taken my first class. Level 2 covers issues faced by more advanced essay writers, like finding that elusive “universal truth,” using dialogue in essays, constructing a narrative arc, and dealing with rejection and criticism. This is the LAST TIME I will offer this class, so sign up ASAP if you want in!


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Malia Jacobson August 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh, I hear ya on the school supplies! Binders…fresh, clean paper…new highlighters that haven’t been used on coloring books. Bliss! I get wistful looking at the “dorm-room” essentials in the ad circulars. Something about living so efficiently in a tiny space appeals to me (as I’m surrounded by mountains of toys and laundry). 🙂


Abby August 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Can you believe you ever did ONE measly load of laundry per week?! I can’t!


Jennifer August 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I’m a total sucker for new school supplies.

As for dorm supplies, my husband mentioned this weekend that we desperately need new bath towels, and I was all “OH! I’ll go buy them right away! Bed Bath and Beyond, here I come!”


Abby August 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm

That was my plan, too, but the college kids cleaned them out!


Loukia August 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Oh, this time of year makes me so sad that I am not in school anymore! I miss university so much, everything about it! High School, too. And back-to-school shopping… school supplies, new clothes, shoes, etc… LOVED IT ALL!


Abby August 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I know, there is something great about starting fresh each Sept. and measuring your life in semester-long increments. I like change!


Very Bloggy Beth August 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

I loved college, I kept switching majors and it took me 6 1/2 years to get my Bachelor’s degree. I used to be ashamed of that, but I look back and realize I just didn’t want to leave! I wanted to take every class! I still get a bit nostalgic every back-to-school season.


Steph August 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Oh, I desperately want to take your writing class, but we don’t get paid ’till the 7th. I hope you’ll offer it again sooner rather than later. 🙂


Abby August 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

I would love to have you join me if it works out!


jetts31 August 29, 2012 at 8:02 am

Short of selling my own soul, I would LOVE to do one more semester at college…even the classes. I remember the sights, sounds, the excitement, and the cramped basements where the keg always seemed to be. Love college.


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