08 August 2015

College freshman, now, then, and yet to come

Seven or eight years ago, I joined a Yahoo! group that focused on crochet primarily.  There may be changes over the years, but the same core group of five or eight women have been posting, following each others' lives, expressing their own thoughts, sharing pictures of projects and weblinks, and keeping things light with laughter, so none of us get too bogged down in life's curves.  I've sometimes followed things closely, offered advice, expressed concern, shared a snicker, and vented more than once or twice.  Other times, months go by without a word from me.  Yahoo! has changed their format a few times and we've all moaned and groaned about those changes, the weather, and other things we don't really have control over.  For the most part, it's a friendly group of folks, who are authentic in their interests and concern for each other.

Shelly & me, March 2015, in our jammies
So earlier this year, when the opportunity arose for me to actually meet one of the core group, I was very excited and did not hesitate to offer my home as hospitality.  I've watched this woman's three kids grow up and go to college, get jobs, meet loves, have their hearts break and then heal.  I've seen this woman work tirelessly thru the years, make the huge decision to return to school, and then whup some course~ass {maintaining great grades}.

Shelly's youngest is now entering college, right here at Mississippi State University.  Tiana's a freshman and I've met her several times over these last few months.  She's a great kid, good head on her shoulders, fun, witty, kind, caring, and I have no doubt she'll do well with her studies, her decision to come here, choosing a sorority, and dealing with all the challenges this new phase of her life will present.

In large part this is because her parents have taught her well and also in large part because she is a strong confident young woman who knows where she stands, and is also open to having new experiences so that she doesn't stand still for long.  I wish Tiana well, as she begins this new journey.

While I was chatting with Tiana and Shelly last night, I thought of how some things are so very different than when I was an undergraduate 25 yrs ago.  And how very different other things are.  There are probably way more differences than I know!

When I was in college, computer labs were a new thing on campus.  The internet was not even available for wide spread usage.  The program I used the most often was SPSS {statistics for social sciences}, which entailed writing a program, running it thru the mainframe, and then accessing the data bank to run thru the program before even dreaming of seeing the results.  Now these things are unheard of, and the user simply uses shortcuts or pull~down menu options.

No one at that time had cell phones, and pagers were only used by surgeons and drug dealers.  Some students owned their own IBMs, Macs, or other PCs; but no one had ever heard of "laptops".  Notes were taken in class, in three ring note book binders with loose leaf paper or spiral bound notebooks whose covers would be falling off by the end of the term, the wire all snaggled.  I preferred the yellow legal pad, but was always in search of the right one for this or that course; finding my bio notes mixed in with my english comp notes after the bio midterm caused me to cry because I knew that I'd selected the wrong answers for several questions on my Scantron form.

We pawed thru the newspaper of that next semester's courses, filling out request forms in triplicate, trying to get our advisers to sign off so that we could then go stand in line at the gym or in the union, at a designated time on a designated day, and wait for our turn to plead with the registar's workers who were using the computers to access course and class openings~~because we were so cutting edge.

Now, I look back and wonder what changes lie ahead.  When the college freshmen of these days have their own grandchildren, what will be so different in their lives?  How will technology change the face of the college experience in the future?

Stranger things are yet to come than I can imagine, I am sure.

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