Visited my old stomping grounds at Butler University last week.

I’d been asked by a former professor to speak to his class about my career in radio, and found the experience to be very rewarding. Sure, its been 20 years exactly since I first rolled on to campus in my parent’s Explorer van with carpeted interior walls, but somehow time stood still and I found myself feeling like that big-haired freshman who wasn’t shy but anxious all at the same time.

I met my prof in the C-Club, the place we used to grab a bite to eat between classes, the place I spent more money than allotted by my parents, the place decked out in Bulldog Blue and booths to avoid sitting in. It hadn’t changed a bit.

Neither had my professor.

He looked exactly the same, though I love that he admitted to wearing a sportcoat he had worn when I was student. I, fortunately, had traded in the legwarmers for slacks, the White Rain hairspray for a flatiron, and we chatted about our lives, where I met my husband, the ages of our kids, and admired photos of the boys with toothless smiles. Eventually, I was handed his dreaded grade book from years gone by. Dreaded because though I was a decent student, those years are cloudy to me, possibly from lack of sleep these days or an attention span that is shorter than, wait, what was I saying? So imagine my surprise to find I scored a B in my professor’s intro class, and an A- in his advanced class two years later.

Yay for me.

Speaking to his class was great, as I love, love, love my job and believe in finding personal satisfaction in what you do, whether it be radio or driving a school bus or staying at home. The fulfillment is what brings a smile to my face, though maybe not when the alarm first screeches me out of bed.

And so my visit proved to be more than educational for a classroom of glassy-eyed students, it was rewarding in other ways.

I appreciated comparing notes with my prof, from radio to parenting to the benefits of minivans. My visit also triggered flashbacks of the person I used to be, that worrisome girl who stepped into my professor’s classroom with no idea of what to do with my life, and no idea of how to get there. Life has no checklists to follow, no guide to keep us on the right track, no map of how to reach our destination. Somehow, catching up with my professor in the very place I often lost my keys, ran across campus to turn in papers on time, and occasionally called my parents feeling homesick was like watching flickering slideshows of the former me. Me…the person who didn’t know what to do with her life, but hoped I wouldn’t fail trying to figure it out.

Not sure what to call it, but I drove away from campus with a big smile on my face. A big thanks to my professor, Scott, for the opportunity to catch up and see life sort of before and after.

Minus the big hair and hot rollers.

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