Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Wooster Camaraderie

Well, I moved. And now I don't have wireless for a while. Which has been really nice. Mainly because I can't do anything that requires the internet, so I have enjoyed it, as I am a little addicted to the internet. And because of the move and lack of wireless, I have not blogged. And I won't have it for a few more days. It's strange because I only moved up two floors and I was always able to access other wireless connections. Oh well. I have been doing other things to pass the time. Like going out to dinner with a stranger I met.

Well, not really a stranger. Outside of my office the other day, a car was parked with a "College of Wooster Alumni" sticker, which I also happen to have on my car. For those not familiar with Wooster, (not pronounced like "Rooster"), it is a small, liberal arts college in a town called Wooster, Ohio. Most people I know haven't heard of it. When I attended, it had a college attendance of 1700. Well known for it's Independent Study program, mainly a year-long thesis that is then defended to a team of professors and also famous for its' bagpipers, Wooster was recently featured in a cover story in a "New York Times" article about colleges that are creatively cutting costs. And boy, was I proud of my alma mater!

Besides my graduate school pals and such, most people I know did not spend Sundays in a cubicle in the college library, madly doing research for their senior thesis. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. And yes, my little thesis title is still on the bottom of my resume.

Now, this car in front of my office. I ran out to put a note on the windshield with my contact information. As I ran back outside, the driver was getting in. After exchanging some information about where we are from and why we are in Madison, I told this young woman I would help her find a job and gave her my e-mail address.

We had dinner the other night. She is engaged to her College of Wooster sweetheart. Did I think for maybe one minute to invite my sweetheart? No. Not really. After learning the hard way that you do not include people who are not affiliated with the College of Wooster, I was not about to bring along my boyfriend who I hadn't seen in days.

Wooster has something about it that non-attendees just don't get. There is that "Wooster Camaraderie" thing going on. Completely segregated from the "townies," it's A "bubble" of its' own. And if you didn't experience it, you won't get it. And you will feel completely left out.

Eight years out and I still have a special place for Wooster in my heart. Meeting with this Wooster couple, two recent grads, we spent an hour and a half discussing dorms, the dining hall, parents weekend, building myths and structures, Stan Hales and more.

What is it about this college that makes it so special? I don't know. It's just special. I wish I could explain it to you. We all experienced the beauty of the campus, the distinguished buildings, the "there's nothing to do" binge drinking, the random restaurant selections, the drive-through liquor stores, the UG, Georgia at Lowry, Short order, Mom's Truckstop, Java Hut, naked runs through the snow, filling Kauke Arch, "The Voice," and more. A real bond.

And it's mine. It is my connection. They are my memories. And it reminds me a lot of my life now. The memories I am making with my friends in this small, compact city. Except this time, I am not the student in the bubble. I went to a bar for one beer last night, and it was filling up with the returning college students. "Are we townies," I asked my friend. "Yes, we are." he said....


  1. Great post! You should send it to the College of Wooster.

  2. Janie-
    What a fantastic post! Your blog surfaced in my daily Google alerts. I appreciated reading your eloquent thoughts on your time at Wooster. I hope you have made some new friends, through that Wooster bumper sticker...
    Keep us (and your classmates) posted on your new adventures.
    Sandy Eyre Nichols '94
    Director of Alumni Relations and The Wooster Fund