In college, there were two bars in our little town that we had the choice to spend our Thursday nights. Scandals was a tiny bar you could walk to from campus, which was convenient since often people were trashed by the end of the night so walking was the best option.
Students crammed in so tight on Thursday nights, you couldn’t even move. Thumping bass, fire hazard, you walk through the door and some guy would attach himself to your booty type of bar. Um, no thanks.
My circle of friends always chose the other option. We went to a country western karaoke bar called Longbranch every Thursday night. We didn’t drink, at least as Freshmen, and we couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, except for my roommate Brooke, but we danced and played pool and sang back-up for Brooke and laughed at drunk people that attempted to sing and just sat around chatting about our classes and who the cutest guys were and how dumb the sororities were and who would pay so much money to buy friends? Oh but we all eventually joined sororities and groups of various types.
We had to stick around until 2am to find out if we won The Money and one time we did. You paid a dollar to get in and at the end of the night they drew names and the winner took home that stash.
It’s amazing the energy and stamina we had to stay up so late. After that, we’d go to the Waffle House when nothing else was open and had deep conversations about theology, politics and the latest episode of Dawson’s Creek. I had a chemistry class and lab at 8am bright and early on Friday morning. I didn’t do so well making a C. Hash browns and friendship was just much more important at that time.
Our campus was dead on the weekends. A lot of people decided to go home to Columbia, Charlotte, Greenville, or other small towns in-between. My parents drove up occasionally and took me to Target to buy snacks and stuff for the dorm room. I drove a beat up bright blue turquoise 1992 Ford Tempo while I was a student. It was my car in high school as well.
That car symbolized my freedom. It was my chance to do what I want and go where I please. I drove to different jobs and volunteer events over those four years. I volunteered for an organization that helped those with poor access to medical care and I would take them to their appointments. I gave rides to my friends. We took trips to the mountains, the beach and concerts.
At my university, it used to be an all women’s school and that changed in the 70’s. However, most of the degrees are preferred by women, such as education, and the fact that we didn’t have a football team, the ratio of women to men was 4:1.
An average kind of guy was treated like a king since we didn’t see many of them. Most of my friends didn’t date and we just patiently waited for The One.
Yet still I had my heart broken. I switched majors. I pulled all-nighters studying for exams. I made friends for life.
So much happened to shape who I am during those 4 years, my career passion, my world perspective, my theological and political views. I became very interested in public health and decided to pursue that post-grad. I may have not got my MRS degree but I grew so much as an individual, an independent woman, still afraid of a little bug in the house but I was going places.
I had no idea I’d study abroad in London, or work in Hong Kong, or camp on the coast of Galway, or snorkel off the coast of the Similan Islands, or play games with kids in a Romanian orphanage, or help teach life skills to women in the slums of India, or spend my 30th birthday in Zanzibar and a safari in Tanzania, or help plant churches in villages in northern Uganda, or bungee jump in South Korea, or climb the Great Wall, or visit historical sites of ruin, Rome, Thessoniki, Ephesus, or the greatest adventure yet, meeting Mr. Incredible and being mommy to 2 little precious, crazy nuggets.