Loosely connected

This past weekend I drove to Pittsburgh to see my former residents graduate. It’s been 3 years since I was a Resident Assistant, and I still miss it constantly. There’s nothing like helping teens discover/create the right college experience for them. Especially when the teens are as awesome as mine were.

PGH wknd Fri 003
Me and some of my Class of 2010 kiddos enjoying Late Night at Fuel & Fuddle

I also got to spend some time with my aunt and uncle and their grandkids. We went to a school carnival; ate hot dogs, ice cream, and donuts; and competed in swimming noodle Jedi wars. I think Ben won (mostly due to sheer stamina).

PGH wknd Sat New Castle 060

Sometime during the roadtrip, my car’s air conditioning died. Fortunately it was cool enough to roll down the windows. I didn’t really speed — and haven’t since I got my first and only ticket last year — but I did snap a few photos while driving… I know, I know, it’s bad and dangerous! And the photos I got weren’t even that great. But I’ve been wanting pictures of these Ohio Bicentennial barns for a while. Next time I’ll try to get a better shot while Andy is behind the wheel.

PGH wknd Sun drive home 005

It’s hard to explain how I feel about not having any real ties to Carnegie Mellon anymore. I only know a handful of professors and administrators there now, and I’m sure I’m fading in their memories with every passing day.

That part of it doesn’t bother me — in fact, it’s nice to go to campus and not have awkward run-ins with people I barely know. (Don’t get me wrong: the few that I do keep in touch with, I love. Seeing them wouldn’t be awkward at all.) But at the same time, little things keep changing every time I go back, and I guess part of me is afraid that one day I won’t recognize it at all…

That’s probably an irrational fear. But when you love something, it’s hard to let it go.

19 responses to “Loosely connected”

  1. Jon Avatar


    Haha, kidding aside, I bet you’d make a really great RA. When I first saw that I went, residents, hmm, were you a doctor at some point? Is there something you’re not telling us Kristan?

  2. Sonja Avatar

    You’ll always have ties to Carnegie Mellon as long as you remember it and you are a part of other people’s memories of it.
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: Hello, private school! Buh-bye, money! =-.

  3. Sarah Avatar

    hmm. I think this theme should make an appearance in 20SW. If only one could take a vacation to past moments, although, Pittsburgh hardly changes! My hero lecturer is retiring this summer and moving to Australia…it’s sad to know that I won’t have the opportunity to attend one of his classes again.
    .-= • Recent post by Sarah: Sub-Urban Fantasy =-.

  4. Samantha Bennett Avatar

    Noodle wars! Those were a constant for me and my fairly (read: way, super, etc.) competitive family. :) Fun post!
    .-= • Recent post by Samantha Bennett: Down the Tunnel =-.

  5. Kristan Avatar

    Aw, thanks. I loved it, and I like to think I was good at it. :)

    True true. (Too bad my own memory is so bad sometimes… Hehehe.)

    Aw, sorry to hear that. Or maybe it just means you gotta take a trip to the Down Under… ;)

    Thanks! I hope you won often. :P

  6. Mary Avatar

    I haven’t actually been back to my university since I graduated. I know there have been a lot of changes, most of which I was really never in favor of. I’m a little afraid to go back and see what the campus looks like.

    It makes me understand a little bit more how my parents felt, when my brother and I were students there. Except that for them, they’d had 30 years of changes to get used to, rather than just 3.

    But I guess since they got over it, I can too, right?
    .-= • Recent post by Mary: A Very Crafty Outlook =-.

  7. T.S. Bazelli Avatar

    Sounds like an awesome road trip! I know that feeling though. I had some good times in Universiy, but things have changed since then. I’ve visited a couple times but it’s a strange feeling. Everything’s different! That doesn’t change any of the good memories though. :)
    .-= • Recent post by T.S. Bazelli: Flash Fiction: A New Hobby =-.

  8. Les Avatar

    I miss being a student, but I suppose life goes on :( if I make it to Wpg this summer I might stop in at the U of M and poke around a little.
    .-= • Recent post by Les: Interior Jealousy =-.

  9. Kimberly Franklin Avatar

    I could totally picture you as a RA. I bet your were great at it! And I loved your pictures, so pretty!!

  10. Kristan Avatar

    Yeah. Things changed at CMU from when my dad went too, but I don’t think he thought of any of the changes as bad. I kind of hate the look of one of the new buildings that’s up on CMU’s campus, but at the same time, I know it’s not the end of the world. And like Sonja and T.S. said, my memories of CMU will always be my memories; no one can touch or taint them. :)

    I miss student life, but not academic life! :P

    Thanks, girl!

  11. Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist Avatar

    I love visiting my old college campus (UC Berkeley) but every time I feel little sad that I remember fewer things or “don’t remember that being there!”
    .-= • Recent post by Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist: Give away and author interview with Aidan Donnelley Rowley =-.

  12. S0BeUrself Avatar

    I was abruptly deployed to Iraq in the middle of college. By the time I returned, all my friends had already graduated. Talk about a shock. The school felt alien to me, and what’s more, after spending so much time around older men and women, I felt like I had returned to high school. It was a somber reminder that people – and not places – are what I treasure most about my memories.
    .-= • Recent post by S0BeUrself: TDDC: Chapter 2: “Words of Wisdom” =-.

  13. Eric Avatar

    I lived on my undergrad campus for a few years after I graduated. Watching the new kids file in and the old ones leave was one of the strongest testaments to the passage of time I’ve ever known. I think it was that, more than the actual change, that got me.
    .-= • Recent post by Eric: I Just Wrote a New Book =-.

  14. Kristan Avatar

    Wow. Now that sounds like something to write about…

    I agree with you and S0BeUrself completely: it’s the people more than the place. (That said, I often form strong attachments to places. :P)

  15. Meghan Ward Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these, Kristan. It’s fun to see what’s going on in people’s lives outside of writing. And I love your Ohio barn picture!

  16. Marci Avatar

    You could just be an RA forever… like me!

    You dont like the Gates building? Teo and I really did…at least from the outside. Inside, not so much.

    It’s funny b/c when I read this, I thought, I dont feel this way at all about CMU- I dont care how time passes and it feels less familiar. But that’s exactly how I feel about Spain every year I don’t go back.

  17. Kristan Avatar

    Independently, the Gates building looks cool. With the rest of campus, I’m not a fan. I would prefer a slightly more unified look, closer in to the yellow brick or the CFA buildings. I think part of what makes Harvard or Stanford or Rice attractive is how the campus looks cohesive; vs. MIT which is hodgepodge and ugly.

    I did not go inside Gates yet. No time. But I have heard it’s somewhat disappointing…

    Oh, I feel this way about Spain and Taiwan too. I think Taiwan is hitting me harder because it’s been longer (like 7 yrs) since I was back, vs. Spain at least was only 4 yrs ago (HOLY COW 4 YRS?!). Getting back to both of them is a big travel priority for me, though. I’m looking at 2012 and 2013.

  18. Hannah Katy Avatar

    Ah! I love finding former RAs among me! I was a RA for two years and it was such an amazing experience. That is so awesome that you went to see them graduate, must have been a pretty surreal experience.


    Hannah Katy

  19. Kristan Avatar

    It totally was. As was sitting at the restaurant being the only one who didn’t want to drink — since when have they been legal to get beer?! :P

    Yay for RAs, past and present! :)