A Hermit Goes to College

Graduating from FIU in 1994
Graduating from FIU in 1994, with mom

Introverts tend to have a few close friends rather than gobs of acquaintances.  Unfortunately, in high school, one of the people closest to me was nuts. I had a crazy boyfriend during my senior year in high school.  Not only did he verbally abuse me, but he told me that he worked undercover for a certain federal agency.  He was only 16, but that didn’t stop me from believing him.  After all, we were still in the cold war.  Anything espionage could happen, right?  And, being raised in a Democratic home, I believed that Reagan was evil and totally would authorize using a teen as a spy.   Crazy boyfriend’s spy stories would make for a good blog, or maybe novel, but I’m getting off track.  Basically, long story short, Mom wanted me away from him.  (Can you blame her?)  She also DID NOT want me going to community college, which I desperately wanted to do so I could stay home and continue to date spy boy. Even my best friend, who was going to community college, told me I was “too smart to go to BCC.”  Hugs to you, T.

So, 9 hours away to Florida State, I went.  I hated it instantly.  Honestly, I hated it before I got there. If there were online school, that would have been great.  Heck, if there had been online anything in 1989, I would have been thrilled.  I had to go stand in line to register for classes.  In line. With people. There were people EVERYWHERE.

First of all, I lived in a dorm with COMMUNAL bathrooms. This had to be some kind of torture method. I had IBS then, but didn’t know it yet.  I just thought I got sick a lot.  At home, I had my own room, my own bathroom, and a shocking lack of drunk people laughing in the hallway.  I got really sick to my stomach while I was at FSU.  So sick, that some of my dorm mates took me to the ER.  The Nurse asked me if I was out at bars eating raw oysters. Um, no. I was in my room reading, writing, listening to U2 on my Sony Discman and drawing pictures on the wall over my bed with oil pastels. My roommate hated that.

My roommate and I were good friends in high school. When we moved in together, we realized that I was (and still am) an introverted neat freak, and she, sadly, was not.  I only see her every 10 years at reunions, so I can’t say what her current state of neatness is.  I just know that we argued a lot over her damp sink-washed laundry, which hung over chairs and doorknobs.  As you can imagine, this made my temples throb.

On the bright side, I ended up breaking up with the crazy boyfriend about 3 weeks into my stay in Tallahassee.  I credit the lack of texting, Facebook, and Skype for this. I had been talking on the phone to a really nice guy, E, that I knew from working at Woolworth.  Remember that place? He was not a spy, and he was a much nicer person.  He actually sent me packages every Wednesday that he called “Happy Wednesday” gifts.  They contained things like huge jars of peanut butter, silk jammies, and other much needed dorm items, like toilet paper.  Since he was so nice, and I was a young idiot, I dated him for two years and then stomped on his heart.  Ah, youth.

Because it was one of those things “normal college students” did, I bought season tickets to the football games.  I ended up selling most of them, or just giving them away.  The couple of games I did go to were crazy boring for me, and loud, and crowded.  Usually, I sat with a group of high school friends long enough to watch Chief Osceola charge on to the field on his horse, with FSU cheerleaders running after him, and launch his flaming arrow.  Soon after the arrow was extinguished, I began my game ritual of walking around behind the stands, eating a pretzel and drinking a Sprite.  I would go back to where my friends were during half time, and again at the end of the fourth quarter.  I don’t think I ever really watched a game.

This may shock you, but I did not stay at FSU for all 4 years.  I transferred to FIU in Miami, and lived at home.  It was much more my speed, and I had my own bathroom.

14 thoughts on “A Hermit Goes to College

  1. This brought back memories, good and bad. To think, we both survived !!
    I am so happy for you and your family. This has made my family grow, and that is a good thing….. I Love your, our, family.

  2. I had introvert struggles in college as well. We were required to live in the dorms our freshman year– that lasted about 6 weeks, after which I fabricated this vague story justifying my need for solitude.
    I think I also dated your ex-boyfriend. Ha. No but really. Wow.

  3. OMG! You and I are the same. Thou the thought of living with 23 other young males would turn me on sharing a bathroom with them not so much! My time at Stetson was identical to yours! I am glad it was because I came back to Fort Myers and meet you! 🙂

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