I Miss Pepperdine

10 Aug

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I miss Pepperdine something fierce.  Something right in the gut that creeps out and punches me every once in a while just because it knows that it hurts.  It knows where the bruise is.

I miss Pepperdine even though at this very moment I’m sitting in the Pepperdine library typing away.

I love Pepperdine.  Much like I love Malibu and I love Caitlin, I love Pepperdine because it came to me at a time when I felt particularly low, a time when I needed it most.

I love this library I’m sitting in.  I love the hot chocolate machine that I can never get to work.  I love the cubicles, with wood and scattered plugs you have to search for.  I love to write here, knowing that I am protected from noise and other people, but I can also see the ocean if I turn my head just so.

I love the shelves and shelves of books.  I keep collecting books for my future library, against all principles of zen and the art of tidying up and I’m OK with that.

Pepperdine is OK with that too.

I’m assuming.

I miss Pepperdine in the fall, with all the new freshmen and all the new energy.  I miss being a TA with my best friends, spending the afternoon in a booked study room wasting our time, talking dreams.

I miss Katie showing up late with a gold parking token, Starbucks in hand.

I miss the Chipotle runs, the Duke’s runs.

I miss getting snickerdoodles and oatmeal chocolate cookies from Malibu Kitchen during break.

I miss the pointless lectures and the group chats.  I miss that feeling that we are right in the thick of it, that we need to sign up for that writing conference Right Now!

I miss writing.

I still write, obviously.  In some ways more than I did then.  But I miss writing for an audience.  The anxiety before your work is read in class.  The thrill of watching yourself improve, of getting caught up in a story.

I miss playing pretend for four hours a night and calling it school.

I miss class.  I miss tea breaks from class.

I miss the popcorn trees in spring and the ever-changing rock.

I miss the pasta bar and chocolate milk machine.

I miss, I miss, I miss.

I finished my coursework in two years, the quickest you could do so in my program.  That was silly, looking back on it.  That was silly, but I was eager to make money and get in the workforce.  I don’t remember why, exactly.   Student loans, I think.

That extra year, the third year, was the year people really started to improve.  People found their voices and niche and ideas.

I have two great sitcom ideas, so so much better than the sitcom idea I pitched last year.

And here I am.

I didn’t have a good undergrad experience.  One day, if I choose to write about it, it will be like the book of Job–calamity after freaking calamity, this time with no moral at the end.

I’ve often wondered about this.  Had I gone to a different school would things have been different?  What about a liberal arts college back East studying creative writing?  What about an all-women’s college?

What if I had applied to schools abroad?

The conclusion is always the same: I can’t change it now.  I made the decisions I made when I made them for a reason.  I was 17.  I wanted to be near friends and family.

But further, I was 17 and had to pay for college.

I made the decisions I made for a reason.

I am here now for a reason.

Not for a reason like “Everything happens for a reason,” but for a reason like “I actively made these choices.”

Pepperdine got to be the college experience I never had.  Not in the traditional sense, maybe, because my version of college has never included many of the traditional college things.

Pepperdine got to be a place I could pursue the thing I love most, with my best friends around me.

I never made any friends in undergrad.  Well, one.  (Hi Laura again!)  I felt like I was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing.

Here I am today and my best friends are all people I met in this program.  The boy I love is someone from this program.

I miss Pepperdine.

I’ll always have it, of course.  I’ll always have Pepperdine.  The memories, but also the present.

I still come to campus often.  I run on the track.  I go to yoga twice a week.

I swim in the pool.  I buy those overpriced gluten-free chocolate animal cookies from the shop. I check for eggplant soup in the cafeteria more than I care to admit.

I miss it and I have it and it’s fleeting.

There’s a thing when you’re in a moment that you don’t fully grasp it.  I remember when Caitlin and I stopped being roommates there was this feeling–that was it.  That little patch of time where our lives intertwined perfectly with Grey’s Anatomy reruns and Rice Krispie treats, that time was gone.

We talked halfheartedly of being roommates again post college, maybe in San Francisco, but I think we both knew it was over.  That time came and was wonderful and it would never happen again.

We are different now, Cait and I, from when we started Pepperdine.  We grew up.  Together and separately.

I am different now, from when I started Pepperdine.

I grew up.

I miss it like mad.

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