college freshman


Although I had been offered some academic scholarships after a pretty distinguished high school career, my parents had a great ritual. After formally declining them, I had to save and overlap (and trim) all of the letters and put them in a frame for the living room wall.

The idea of actually accepting one of them — they were all pretty far from the greater Boston area where we lived — never even came up.  As a precocious over-achiever, I had skipped a couple of grades and was only 15. They  told me I was too young to even think about such fantasies as going to a university.

I’m glad that I had parents that loved me so much and worried about my well-being.  But gee whiz – I don’t think Doogie Houser had over-protective parents.

Anyway, it was two against one, and I was still a minor and financially dependent upon them. There was a non-negligible scholarship, a work study program, and numerous considerations from one of Boston’s fine local universities.  My mother dropped me off at classes and picked me up, since student parking was both expensive and difficult to get.

Of course I never really “felt” like a freshman. I managed, with some difficulty, to convince my mother to either drop me off early or pick me up late.  I needed to meet colleagues.   All I really cared about academically were the necessary prerequisites for medical school, in terms of courses or grades, but I knew I was in the middle of a rich, seething subculture of the youthful.

There were some activities I would never be a part of, like dating the football team or being a member of a sorority.  Types like me did not do those things.  But I was so fascinated by large number of people whose age was somewhere near mine.  I walked up to them and shook hands and said “hello,” whether they sat on the stoop in front of the chemistry building or in the television lounge at the Student Union. Read more on Student Stresses Are Mental As Well As Financial…

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