Do you remember your first visit to a college campus? Mine was a day of sensory overload, a rah-rah Notre Dame football game, tailgating and a tour beforehand. A little overwhelming, but a true sense of the college family spirit. On a recent roadtrip to Dayton and Cincinnati, I took my three children to see my alma mater: the University of Dayton. They have heard enough talk about the university and met some of my old roommates and friends, as I truly enjoyed every minute of my time on that campus. I believe I developed my current lifestyle there, working hard and trying new things and then playing just as hard with great friends.
The entrance to the campus is significantly improved and welcoming from my time there, an invitation to enter for two of my three children who have never stepped foot on a college campus. We spent some time driving around the campus, seeing the educational buildings, the dorm I lived in, the new and improved dorms where there was once a lonely hill, the Ghetto (where the student houses were, for upperclassman) and the house I lived in for 2 years (“It looks creepy,” my 10-year old said, but I explained this was the world of campus housing), the expansive and impressive new RecPlex right up the street from my former home, the bars of Tims and Flanagans looking worn but familiar.
I tried to get my kids to sit on the front steps of my old house for a photo, but they refused. What if someone is home? What if they come outside? they wanted to know. I told them if I told the current residents that I was a UD alum, they were sure to offer me a beer, but they would not take the bet. Dirving through the Ghetto, we saw am impromptu party forming, students carrying plastic beer cups across the street, foaming to the brim, and again I offered to stop for them to meet students, but they were intimidated.
The one way streets and curving, ended roads on the campus were a bit difficult to navigate, as I rarely had a car on campus. We did not need to be aware of where the roads stopped and started and could walk over and around any barricades.
The largest expense of our weekend trip was the hour we spent at the UD bookstore, as I promised each child they could choose one UD item. Show your Flyer spirit! I hope that someday they have such wonderful memories of their college days–late nights studies, early morning parties, the BatCave, basektball playoffs on St. Patrick’s Day, football road trips, fraternity little sisters, intramural football games in the rain, studying abroad–after my first old counselor told me it wasn’t worth it!, Christmas on and off campus, changing majors, friends forever (even if you haven’t seen them in 10 years), inspiring teachers and a couple dreaded ones, is it worth going to to the infirmary?, finding a job while in school, hanging out with the band you take pictures of, and the many educational/social/charitable/religious/work related experiences that help mold us and our beliefs into how we act today.
I hope my children enjoyed their whirlwind day cruising around their first college, to give them a flavor of university life. Definitely UD in the summer is slower and quieter than the Notre Dame football game, but maybe now they can appreciate the rabid fans of the next UD basketball game we attend. On to the next school, or are they Flyers-in-training? C