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College Years
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An email from Sue sent my memory back several decades to the time I left Connecticut to go to university.

Oh, gosh, I had forgotten about that. It was a long time ago. I was accepted at Stanford University (without a scholarship). I went 3,000 miles to California with a one-way ticket provided by my stepfather and two $100 dollar bills in my wallet (I had never seen a $100 currency before). When I arrived, I learned that the cost for Stanford freshmen was $3600 a year, nearly the most expensive school in the nation.

I went to the school financial office and signed up for two jobs. Employed by the newspaper as a copywriter (night work) and by a cafeteria as a waitress (day work)and going to school full-time and racing on my bicycle from classes to work and back again. You know, when you're young you think you can do anything. It never occurred to me that such a schedule wasn't possible. I think I gave up sleeping for two years.

Eventually, the spring of my sophomore year, I got sick and was in the infirmary, very ill. When I recovered enough to get out of bed, I was called into the Dean of Women's Office . She handed me a form for an academic scholarship and ordered me to fill it out. From then on I only had to work enough (just one job!) to pay room and board, because my tuition was on scholarship. I remember making sure I took courses I knew I could ace--humanities and music and languages to keep up my GPA--along with the tough ones like chemistry and economics and history. I've often wondered what it would have been like to have had the time to read and study and socialize instead of filling all my non-class time with work and sleep.

Nowadays, if I were to find myself with $200 in my pocket, looking at a $3600 bill, I'd be much more despairing. I guess I've had to pay too many bills without enough money and I've never had anyone to contribute to the kitty but myself. I wonder what it would be like to be independent of the paycheck and the constant tallying and disbursment of funds, robbing Peter to pay Paul....

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