The last article I wrote for The Carroll News appeared in the May 3, 1983 lampoon issue (The Carroll Newz). It was so long ago that I typed the article. On a typewriter. I don’t even think there were any computers on campus and if there were, no one had any idea how to use one. Don’t believe me? Ask your parents.
In less than two months (June 14-16) I’ll attend my 30th JCU reunion. Seeing classmates with expanded waistlines, thinning hair, and slighter in stature will be a blast because the older you get, the better you were. We not only grew together, we grew up together. There is nothing better than spending four years among your peers. The highs and lows prepare you for the rest of your life.
I know what current students reading this are thinking: what does this old geezer know? And if you saw my JCU GPA, you’d have every right to ask that question. But I do have 20/20 wisdom, enough to know that nothing teaches you about life like living it each day.
Times were different. Communication was more personal because it was all we had. There was no e-mail, no texting, no instant messaging. Plans were made and carried out, whether everyone showed up or not. Without realizing it at the time, we were communicating far more effectively than Dr. Miller (who taught a communications class and, to me, resembled Deputy Barney Fife) could have imagined. And while John Carroll did not enjoy the variety of student ethnic backgrounds it does today, for the first time in our lives we mingled with kids from different states with weird accents.
What I learned most at John Carroll wasn’t necessarily in the classroom. Far from it. Backckgammon games for hours straight, playing quarters at the Rathskeller (the campus bar), continuing to flush the toilet when someone was taking a shower (all in good fun, of course!), staying up late to cram for an exam, and endless fraternity pranks are all part of my Carroll experience. I’ll be reminded of more in just a couple of short months.
College is supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life, and I can honestly say that those four years spent on that wonderful campus between 1979-1983 did so for me. I learned to listen, communicate effectively, and quickly find a common ground that made others comfortable. It is a skill that I still use today. Every day.
Reunions are for rehashing, remembering, and revitalizing. You spend 10 minutes learning what someone does today and then immediately travel back to a time and place where life was simpler. And so was I.