The event was, of course, the Golden Words 40th Anniversary DebaucheryNite™, held in Kingston. GWers from five different decades came together, shared jokes, ate and (most importantly) drank. It was interesting to see how all the alumni that worked on the paper in the '80s were pretty much the same in person as they were in print: not afraid to say something completely disgusting to get a laugh.
I found myself hanging out all night with people I didn't really know all that well, but felt really comfortable being with: staffers from the late '90s. These people are right around 30 as well, and even though I worked on the paper from 2004 through 2006, it seemed like the people I worked with were a completely different generation... which they are, I suppose: some current staffers are a full 10 years younger than me.
It seems like I've spent a good deal of my life being either the youngest or the oldest person in the room. All throughout school, I was the youngest: I skipped a grade (2, if you're curious), and my birthday's at the end of the year, so I was the last to turn 16 and 19 (which sucked giant cock, by the way). This carries on a bit at work, where I'm often surrounded by co-workers who are old enough to be my parents. But, while at GW, I was easily four years older than everyone else around, and sometimes 7 or 8 years older than everyone else; I've used a cell phone probably no more than a dozen times in my life, but some of these kids have owned one since they were 9 or 10. Crazy.
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I was walking through the Student Ghetto last night, and as the familiar backgroud din of "Ghetto at 2 a.m." droned on in the background (random shouting echoing off buildings, faint hints of music, far-off drunken conversations spilling out of house parties), I reflected on the time I spent at Queen's on my second kick at the postsecondary education can.
Overall, I think I made a lot out of my return to school: met lots of interesting people, lived the student life again, caroused a little bit, and generally dodged grown-up responsibilities for two years. Having been away from it for almost a year and seeing a bit of it up-close again, though, I'm entirely certain that part of my life is over for good, and there's a very pronounced gap between me and your standard, garden-variety undergraduate student.
I'm good with that, though. It's alright. It happens to everyone, and if it doesn't, that means you're delusional. (Or you're that guy in the US somewhere who did something like 9 years as an undergrad.) I don't know if it happened late to me, or early, or whatever — I did grad school in a slightly unconventional way, having worked for 4 years first — but the point is it's clear to me now, and I'm not frightened by it.
(Well, okay. Maybe a little.)