5 years later

Five years ago I graduated with my masters from Purdue, and I’ve kind of been trying to figure out what to do with my life ever since. I’ve lived in a new city and tried out a few career paths. It’s crazy to me to think that while I’ve been floundering (just a little), my dear friend Erica was steadfastly pursuing her PhD. I decided against continuing in academics because I knew that I didn’t have the passion for it. I knew it would take more dedication than I was willing to put forth. But E is chalk full of passion and dedication and smarts. She’s won awards and research grants and served the school and her department. She’s a phenomenal teacher and researcher. And now she’s all doctored up, and I couldn’t be prouder. Also, she totally knows how to smize.

(Photo by noted fashion photographer, Cristen Marek. Stolen from facebook. Hope you don’t mind!)

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We Got Spirit (yeah, yeah)

I completely forgot to post about the Purdue Pep Rally we attended on Saturday morning before leaving for Logansport. Much like how I completely forgot to attend pep rallies while I was in school. I really regret that I never went to any sporting events/pep rallies while I was actually in school, but my enjoyment of college sports didn’t happen until after I left college. (Hmm… perhaps it came about because I’m not longer in college and now need a way to compensate? Think about that, armchair psychologists.) Erica found out about a pep rally for Purdue’s final home game against Michigan State the Saturday morning of my trip and asked if I was interested. Of course I was! The marching band! Purdue Pete! The Twirlers! All my favorite things about college football in one place without actually watching the sport. So we joined the crowds at Slayter Hill to participate in the pep rally. We didn’t have to wait long for the band to come marching in.

Complete with the Golden Girl, the Girl in Black and the Silver Twins.

Once the band was in place, they treated us to several rousing songs.

Even Purdue Pete helped out with the World’s Largest Drum.

The twilers showed off their stuff.

And the Golden Silks (really, that is their name) waved their flags around.

The band performed Thriller, a very popular dance this year. Purdue Pete took center stage for it.

But what I discovered at my first ever pep rally is that the people to really watch are the ones playing the cymbals. They were the best!

They even got lower than the cheerleaders during that popular Low, low, low… club song.

And Erica got an awesome picture of one of them flipping. Yep, the cymbal crashers. Who knew they were so athletic?

This particular pep rally was the senior show since it was the last home game of the season, so at the end of the performance, they had all the parents of the senior band members stand by their kids while they played Hail Purdue.

I will admit that I shed a tear or two. I’m a sap for the sentimental.

On our way back to the car, we saw plenty of examples of another game day tradition that I never participated in, the Breakfast Club. It has a dim resemblance to Frenchman Street here in New Orleans on Halloween. Just a few costumes we saw around campus.

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Perhaps if I had attended pep rallies, breakfast club, sporting events, or any event really, I might have felt more school spirit while I was at Purdue. Then again, school spirit might just be like so many other things in my life – something I appreciate more when colored with nostalgia.

Bonus

One of the bonuses of visiting Indiana in mid-November?

It finally looked like fall! Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adore the weather in New Orleans right now, but it’s not the kind of fall season I’m familiar with. So it was nice to at least get a weekend of fall color.

Purdue Revisited

I spent this past weekend in Indiana visiting Erica and basically saying either “oh, I remember that place!” or “awww… the good old _______________.” Visiting Lafayette felt very strange in a way. I graduated 2.5 years ago and I haven’t been back since that time. It doesn’t seem very long, so it surprised me how much I had forgotten about Lafayette. I couldn’t even remember how to get on the Union Street bridge, and it was something I used to cross three or four times each day. But at the same time, everything was familiar. Of course, one of the first places we went was to campus. Erica showed me her grad office at Recitation Hall.

It’s much more cozy and decorated than mine ever was. And it has a drawer full of candy! I attended a History Department brownbag with her about choosing a dissertation topic and writing your prospectus. Good old grad school. How I both loved and hated you and how I sometimes still miss you. At the same time, how happy I am that I don’t have to choose a topic or write a prospectus. Then we visited all the old places.

I have always been fascinated by the stacks at the library. If they didn’t keep it at approximately 100-degrees in there, and if I had ever been one to study at the library, I might have studied there.

We walked past Heavilon Hall, where the English Department is housed and where my old office used to be.

But first we paused to listen to the squeak in the cobblestone circles just outside the building. If you stand right in the middle and clap your hands, it squeaks instead of claps. It’s basically the only thing I know to show people when they would come to visit me on campus.

Here’s a lovely picture of Erica.

Fact: The picture below of Erica is the most viewed picture of all my flickr pictures.

Then we ventured over to an area of campus I didn't visit much because it's full of engineering buildings. But it’s nice all the same.

We passed by Hawkins Hall on our way back to the car.

Erica lived in one of those tiny little rooms our first year at Purdue. I have fond memories of hanging out there and watching tv. Ahh… those were the days.

Our next stop was kind of on campus, so I thought I’d group it with these pictures. The Recycling Center:

I didn’t have a lot of love for Purdue during my two years there. Why? That’s another post in itself, I guess, but visiting it again with a camera rather than my books reminded me that it’s actually a really nice campus and I have a lot of really great memories associated with it. Go boilermakers! (more school spirit to come)