Thoughts on my almae matres

by Brian Keaney

Not so long ago I said that it would be nice to go back to high school.  I guess I need to amend that and say that I wouldn’t mind, but it couldn’t be my high school.  I’ve had the good fortune to cover a couple basketball games in the O’Donnell Gymnasium – even a couple good ones – but I’ve been disappointed again and again at the lack of students in the stands.  I’d even venture to say that there are more middle school kids there than high school students.

The only person in the crowd worthy of a slap upside the head is the little brother of two kids on the team.  I wish I was half as smart and half as bold as this kid is when I was his age.  I find myself laughing not only when he yells out comments that I wish I had said, but even things that I wouldn’t have thought to say today .  He’s a funny little kid.

The team isn’t great, but they certainly are not bad either.  Last night I covered a game one town away, and the student fans there were loud in volume and large in number.  The thing is, their team isn’t any better.  The records are about the same, and I bet they would match up nicely against each other.  I don’t know how we can fill our stands the way they do, but it’s discouraging anyway.

Also discouraging is the turn my finances took yesterday.  I logged on to my bank account to make sure my paycheck had been deposited.  It had, but the balance looked low.  Turns out Sallie Mae increased my monthly payment by 65% without warning me.  I’m sure they told me at some point the payment would be jumping, but it has been several years at least.  I lucked out in that the change occured on a payday, but a heads up would have been appreciated regardless.  On the bright side, now I’ll be in my 40s when I finish paying them off, not my 50s.

It’s a damn good thing I loved college so much, otherwise I’d be even more upset at the amount I have to pay.  The change in terms also came at the end of a week when I’ve been feeling pretty good about CUA.  A new president was inaugurated this week, so my Twitter feed has been full of photos and announcements highlighting many of the things I love most about the university.

Though he has only been in office for six months, I like the approach President Garvey has taken, and his vision for the institution.  He also seems to be popular among the students, which in large part I think has to do with how visible he has been.  Over the summer he lived in one of the mediocre dorms, and through the fall ate many of his meals at the Pryz.  He also seems to be focusing on improving the undergraduate experience, which I am pleased to hear.

While we are running through all my nourishing mothers, I should probably also mention the last one.  Though I was graduated almost nine months ago, I just finally got my degree – that is, the actual piece of paper – in the mail a few days ago.  Obviously it didn’t mean that much to me.  I owed the university some money still, and I had to pay $60 to get a copy of my thesis printed and bound.  These were not expenses high on my priority list.

Another reason is that I knew that once I got it that it would be hung on my parents’ living room wall.  I go out of my way not to drop the H-bomb, and  especially in the frame I got as a graduation present I knew it would make a large announcement.  Eventually I realized that anyone who will be in that room probably already knew I went there, so I got over it.

Once I actually had it in hand, I realized how ugly it was.  It looks like someone just typed it up in Microsoft Word.  The letters are all plain and in straight rows with no ornamentation to speak of.  I have no artistic sense and I could have designed a better looking degree.  Oh well, hopefully people will be distracted by the fact that it is in Latin, and just think that I must be incredibly erudite if I can understand it.  Ha – wishful thinking.  Anyone in that room knows me better than that.

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