Musings from outside the mainstream.
CORVALLIS – The school term hadn’t even started and already I’d been woken up. Three times. In one week. After midnight. I’m telling you, it’s getting old. It’s getting to where I dread you, the college student, arriving back in town. Solidly establish in mid-life, I’m well aware of what has changed; me. You young adults stay the same age. You are forever 18-22, not a care in the world and taste of freedom.
I try not to be so grumpy. After all, I was a college student once upon a time. I went to parties. We had parties, parties where the cops showed up. I walked around late at night. I probably puked in someone’s lawn. We let our lawns grow too long at our rentals. We put our couch out in the yard in good weather, played our music loud and threw the football back and forth in the middle of the street.
What I don’t remember is the regularity and volume of the parties. I don’t remember the packs of kids, some drunk, some not, in the middle of the night yelling, just yelling as they walk down the street. Or the couches left out in the rain, and then left behind for someone else to deal with. Or the trash, either in front of your rental, or a trash can knocked over in front or our homes.
I doubt I thought much about the families or long term residents living close to campus, especially when I was in party mode. So I wonder if it would have done any good to point out any of the above to the younger me. Would I have tempered my behavior?
I honestly can’t say. But I’m giving it shot. Rather than complaining about “those damn kids” or blaming OSU for its rapid growth, I thought I’d introduce you to me or the future you.
I came to OSU, and I stayed in Corvallis. It’s my home and you’re my neighbor.
I’ve lived within a half mile of campus for over 20 years. I love my little old house, though I’ve lost my romance for older homes, they’re a lot of work. (Keep that in mind when you look to buy your first home.) But I like the character of the ‘hood so much more than other developments. Plus, I’m close to shopping and downtown, and of course, the university. I can bike anywhere significant to me within 10 minutes.
Corvallis is a great place to raise kids. And I’ve got them. Be prepared to be unnerved when you can’t tell the difference between your 15 year old in high school and a 19 year old in college. My daughter has already had a college boy try to chat her up while she was walking the dog.
I’m all for equal rights and I’ve never owned a gun, but I’m thinking of buying a shotgun, just to stare down any potential boyfriend who might come to the house to pick her up. I tell her she can date when she’s 25. I’m only half joking.
This is what you become all over again; your parents.
You know what’s interesting though? You’ll be ok with it. There are lots of things we tell our youth that as youth we reject. But it sinks in later. So I simply ask you to consider those of us who live around campus, who’ll still be here long after you’ve moved on.
Please don’t knock over the trash or break the pickets on our fences. Watch your language, for heaven’s sake! There are kids about. And some of that would be remedied, if you weren’t so LOUD, at 2am. We old farts go to sleep around 10pm. Have a clue. Can you not yell or congregate in large groups in front of our homes, even if it is the weekend, much less a Tuesday night?
Don’t become the party house. Have one party a term, and rotate the houses among your friends. And trust me on this, don’t do an open party. It can get out of hand quickly. (Remember I’ve already admitted I was in college once, I know what I’m talking about.) Have beverages for underage people, and food. Don’t playing drinking games. Remember, if someone dies or drives drunk, if they got the alcohol from you, you can be found liable.
And lastly, I went to a reunion of my college pals recently. The same guy that drank too much in college at our parties, showed up at 10am smelling of hard alcohol. It was great to see him, but pathetic too. His hands shook; he could barely hold a fork stable. The habits you start now, such as how you seek entertainment, can indeed last a lifetime. Don’t the let party atmosphere become the only way you know how to have fun, and maybe that person won’t become you.
In closing, good luck and welcome to our town. These years can be fun. I wish you success in life here and beyond. Just try not to puke on my lawn.