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Column

College days remembered

As I approach my first, ahem, double digit college reunion milestone, it is interesting to reflect on what has changed in the last decade. To me, it hasn’t felt like 10 years since I was a student at Wartburg College, but the calendar doesn’t lie. 

Nothing brings these ideas to the forefront like planning a weekend with college friends who you haven’t seen in a little over a year. This past weekend, I got together with my “thrower group” which includes my sister and two other Wartburg alums, Heidi and Angie. We spent multiple years on the track team together at school, so we got close during those long months of training and meets. 

In the years since, we have all moved on from school; but we try to stay connected as best we can. The past several years have been a little easier with weddings bringing us together. Angie’s wedding was the last time the four of us saw each other. There have also been a few visits during homecoming week when everyone can make it back to our alma mater. 

This year, we decided to make a special, girls weekend trip for Heidi’s birthday. She lives the furthest away in Worthington, Minn., but her twin sister and brother-in-law (also Wartburg grads) live in Forest City, creating a nice meeting spot for everyone. 

It was a fun weekend of catching up, touring the area and just making the most of the time spent together. One of Angie’s goals is to visit all of the wineries in Iowa, so while in the area, we all went to the 99 Bottles Winery near Garner. It was a small operation, but the people were awesome. The lady who helped us did a fantastic job explaining each selection and answered any questions we had. Another highlight was going to the bowling alley. Luckily, all of our bowling skills are pretty similar: inconsistent! But the scores don’t matter, just the time spent together.

At one point, we started discussing how different the college experience is for students now versus what we went through just a short while ago. I’m sure the entire campus has WiFi now; but in our time, we still had to find ethernet ports to make sure our laptops could access the internet in each building. 

Trish and I were lucky enough to have a tech-savvy brother who set up a wireless router in our dorm room, which was a luxury back then. 

The first iPhone came out at the end of my junior year of college, so we spent most of our time in school contenting ourselves with flip phones and the like. Facebook was still fairly new and was still exclusive to college institutions. I cringe at some of the photo albums I included from those early days but am glad to have the memories. 

My Facebook feed today is littered with people I knew in high school, college and beyond. It has allowed me to stay connected and reconnect with people who I haven’t seen since those graduation days. 

However, no digital connection can take the place of personal interaction. That is why I am so thankful our thrower group could align schedules for a weekend get together. We have all changed since graduation, but we will always be bonded in our shared experiences from our years at Wartburg. 

I hope as the years go by, we can still make time to have weekends like these. While it may not be every year, I hope our next girls weekend won’t be too far down the road for us. 

Contact Pam Pratt at pampratt@newtondailynews.com

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