College nostalgia

Iron Man director Jon Favreau in 1994’s PCU (one of my favorite movies)

One of those thoughts that rocks me back on my heels is that one day I’m going to have to explain to my kids that I didn’t always have the internet.  That somehow society managed to function before that.

It’s the way of technology, exponentially increasing while leaving the recent past as ancient as mummies in the desert.  I’ve always wondered how different my college years would’ve been if there had been the high tech there is today.  I don’t consider 1994 to be super-old, but depending on your age and perspective, perhaps it is.  In any case, when I first went there, my college had only gotten phone lines in dorm rooms five years prior.  There was no internet to speak of, at least on our campus.  Heck, we thought we were cutting-edge because every freshman in ’94 got a bulky laptop that ran Windows 3.1.  Our music was from radios, cassette decks, and giant multi-disc CD changers.  Past that, most of our daily life was free of high technology.

For me, I consider it a blessing.  It forced me to hang out with others, go on adventures, and generally not be concerned with emails and Twitter and all of the daily high-tech minutiae that dominates today.  I was extremely introverted in high school, and college helped me develop a more balanced lifestyle that carries on to today.  Plus, I can’t imagine if I had to deal with MMOs on top of college courses — I think I may have failed out.

It’s interesting to look back to that era, because it’s when the internet and the WWW made inroads in our campus.  Because our basic laptops had no great modem to speak of, all of our internet work was done from our computer center (which still brought us together, in physical proximity, at least).  It’s there that I started writing my first web sites, where I discovered online chatting, where my roommate and I waited for a half-hour for the Phantom Menace trailer to download, where I got sucked into emails and online forums, and so on.  Yet online gaming never registered for me during that time, and even going into 1999, most of what I played was my PlayStation console.

I think my college self would be astounded if the me of today showed up and talked about all of the advantages we have — wifi, ebooks, MMOs, online shopping, instant news, smartphones, lime Coke.  But I think I would be a little jealous looking back as well.  Kind of makes me want to dig out my old Magic cards and read a physical book, it does.

4 thoughts on “College nostalgia

  1. biophazer242 August 23, 2012 / 11:00 am

    I fully understand where this post is coming from… except the kids part (dodged that bullet!) I still have a fondness for board games and try to organize a game every few weeks with some friends. Love my MMOs but there is something special about sitting around a table with a game and just socializing that no virtual world can replace.

  2. bhagpuss August 23, 2012 / 1:53 pm

    My college days were 15 years before yours. We played our music on vinyl and if there were computers at the university (there must have been) there certainly weren’t any in the English Dept. For most of the three years I didn’t even have a tv. Almost no students watched tv.

    As for gaming, I didn’t play my first game of AD&D until after I graduated. College was all movies, playing in and watching bands, partying and reading comics (oh, and the odd essay). I did have an Atari 2600 though. Not sure if that was at college or right after I left….

    If we’d had modern digital media and communications back then… I just think we’d have gone to more parties.

  3. Aly August 23, 2012 / 3:39 pm

    I shudder to think of what my adolescence would have been like if things like Twitter and Facebook were around way back when. Bad enough without. Ick.

    I’d still be reading real books instead of ebooks though, just as I do now. And going outside. My parents definitely would not have gotten me a smart phone. Cellphone, maybe, but that would have been the extent of it.

  4. Mister K August 24, 2012 / 1:04 am

    Me and my friends watched PCU in college all the time. I used to have every line of that movie memorized.

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