School Spirit

The Beach Boys said to “be true to your school”, but if there was one thing I lacked during any phase of my education, it was school spirit. I kind of floated through the halls of my University feeling a strange disconnect from my fellow students, as if we were all there for different reasons, and that my reasons were too serious to include such frivolity as school spirit or student activities. Also, I was an idiot. I look back on those times and realize I missed out on a major aspect of college life.
I never went to a single sporting event, a single dance. I never bought a school bag or pendant. I never even owned a sweater with a school mascot on it, and I’m pretty sure the necessity of owning one of those is mentioned at freshman orientation. I paid no heed to school banners or club invitations, and when the stadium flags flew during major events I just kept my head down and went to class, and when it was over I left campus only to return when it was absolutely necessary. Now that I’m married I mourn the college experiences that could have been.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I was the same way in high school; shuffling from one class to the other; the first to his seat, a “shusher” of fellow students. Basically, I was a big fat nerd. There! I said it. Now the healing can begin.
I honestly don’t know if other people have better or worse experiences than I did. Maybe college isn’t like Animal House at all. If it was I could see myself doing a lot of shushing. Maybe I didn’t miss anything. Maybe I blew it. I’d rather not dwell on it too much.
I can say that when my kids are going to college I’m going to tell them to participate. Live on campus, do a lot of dating, join a club, get kicked out of club. Support your school’s athletic teams. Buy a school banner and hang it in your dorm room. Get on a first name basis with your Dean. When the stadium flags are flying, find out why. And for heaven sakes, buy a sweater with your mascot on it, unless your mascot is something generic, like a bear, then I don’t care.

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