As a college student, I lived my life dreaming about endless possibilities. Each day had the possibility of being completely meaningful and vital. I was the kind of girl who walked around campus completely taken by the simple experience of my freedom. Think cliche montage of film about the experience of college— Bright fall day on campus, university park filled with students laughing, walking, being. Then, zoom in on the main character basking as she walks towards a grey building with pillars in the front, headphones playing Tori Amos. This was me. I loved every bit of misery and happiness that came my way and dwelled in it for as long as I could.
My third year in college at our annual winter concert festival, the then indie Black-Eyed Peas were to perform. (This was pre-Fergie era for them.) I was a huge fan and so excited to see them live–thanks to my brother that demanded I know about indie hip-hop bands such as Jurrasic 5 or the Roots. I invited a younger friend to go and for a reason that I don’t remember we ended up going just as they walked off stage. A, who is way bolder than I could ever be at any age, saw the Black-Eyed Peas chillin’ off stage in a meet and greet area that was easily accessible.
“Let’s go say hi!” she said.
“What? I’m not sure we should. I mean I don’t know what to say,” I replied completely scared.
She grabbed my hand without another a word and began making her way towards the front–me in tow. The closer we got, I slowly lost any ability to form clear thoughts, let alone a coherent sentence. Upon arrival to the meet and greet area, inches away from Will. I. am, A immediately greeted him with “Hey! we love your music!” While I watched, attempting to muster a clear sentence.
“Hi, I like you,” I stuttered. With a not so polite nod my way, Mr. I. Am. turned his attention back to my bold friend and asked her the most important question of our lives:
“Do you know a good party to go to?”
A looked to me for the answer as I was the local college student; this concert was the party I had planned for the evening. An embarrassed and disappointed A shook her head ‘no’ and grabbed my hand to march us back. Our one chance to party with the coolest boys in town and we/I had nothing to offer. I remember feeling inadequate as a college student. It felt like it was my fault and not A’s since she didn’t even go to this school at the time. While debriefing in my car on our way home , we giggled at our one claim to fame–Will. I. am wanted to party with us. He wanted to party with us!
The fantasy way better than what could have been the reality which is ultimately the sum of my college experience.