I took a quick trip to Norman this week. Just a day. The purpose for the trip was to support Matt in his work with his Fraternity by attending a dinner.
The small window of time that I had available didn’t allow me to do much in the way of visiting with old friends, but I did manage to meet up with my sister, Eh, and my nephew at the Starbucks on Campus Corner. (My niece had a volleyball game.)
While I sat at the trendy spot waiting for Jean and crew to arrive I knitted and, for the most part, people watched. Students of various disciplines came and went. Small groups discussed class work, events to be attended, and clothing…it was fascinating to watch & listen to.
At one point it dawned on me. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma 12 years ago. It was a sobering thought.
Twelve years have passed since I walked the halls of Copeland, Gittinger, Dale, the Blender, the Student Union…They had just finished the new building for the College of Journalism. (I was part of the first graduating class when the College split from the College of Arts and Sciences.)
My connection to OU didn’t end when I graduated though. I worked on the campus- first as part of the janitorial staff for several months before finding employment with the Bizzell Library as a copy cataloger.
I worked there until 2005. Then I moved to Dallas. Since my move I have been back to the Campus only a handful of times. Every time I visited, inevitably there would be discussions on how things had changed. Of course there were tangible changes to OU, but the intangible changes were also numerous. Mostly though we talked about the differences in the student body. Nothing makes you feel old like hearing about the average birth year of the current Freshman in attendance.
In all reality, it doesn’t matter. There is a mild feeling of disconnection that is simply the initial shock that time has passed. It is a generational moment.
When it was time for me to make my way towards the Triangle Manor for dinner I politely refused an offered ride and chose to walk across Campus. I started at the corner of Asp and stuck of diagonally. Past buildings I had never taken classes in but cleaned every nook and cranny; across the Oval where Matt officially proposed to me, I passed Bizzell and the clock tower. I wandered past the Communications building and Goddard.
As I left the OU Campus behind I realized that while I was no longer a part of OU – OU was certainly still a part of me. That made me smile.