Returning to College...22 Years Late...

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When you're a kid, you make certain assumptions about your life. While I was never sure if I was going to be an astronaut, actress or best-selling writer, I knew for a fact:

But college and life experiences can give you a very different perspective. How was I supposed to know that I, a kid who hardly dated in high school, was going to be married to a great guy at the end of my sophmore year? How was I supposed to know he was going to wind up getting a job "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" Ohio at the end of my junior year? How was I supposed to know I was going to be a mother when I was 23? How was I supposed to know that I was going to collect a large envelope of rejection slips for my fiction, finally to sell a story to a magazine that then went under?

Ahh, hindsight. Well, maybe I would have paid more attention in home ec class in high school. I just never knew I was going to need to know much about cooking, sewing and child care.

After a few years, we escaped Southern Ohio for Massachusetts. It was 1982 and high tech was starting to boom. We went from renting a house with a yard for $250 a month to renting a small four room apartment for $525 a month. My husband, Jim, had a tech writing job with an engineering firm. I looked into returning to college then, and found while I could probably get a scholarship it wouldn't cover child care. I looked into getting a job, but without a degree I went from one bad job to deciding it just wasn't worth working outside the home with a toddler inside the home.

Jim and I had met in a science fiction club meeting on the CMU campus back in 1975. We'd been active in science fiction fandom ever since, and Boston has always been a hotbed of SF activity. As you can probably guess, SF fans tend to gravitate toward geeky jobs, especially computer-related jobs. So, in late '83, a friend said his start-up company needed a person to do odd jobs for the hardware department part time - would I be interested?

Would I be interested?


I had been one of the first kids in high school in 1974 to learn really basic BASIC on a Wang computer. I'd taken BASIC in college, learning I wasn't a programmer. Still, I loved computers and hoped, some day, that computers would be smart enough to let "just plain folks" and not only programmers, use them. Over the next few years, I worked for Stratus Computer where I went from doing odd jobs to learning technical typesetting to doing technical writing.

I suppose the most important lessons to learn about life is to:

And that's why I went back to college. My daughter, who attended Pitt Titusville last year, decided she didn't want to go to college full time for at least a year. So I basically said, "If you're not going, I am." And I did.

My family and I moved back to the Pittsburgh area in 1993, and I've been to Oakland many times over the last few years. I can't say that Pitt has really changed all that much since the late '70s. The campus is still dominated by the Cathedral, Fifth and Forbes are still one way around the campus, the "O" is still there. The main difference I noted was the addition of much more security. Back in the '80s, there was some security in the dorms, but I ran into a security guard at the door of the old YMHA (now Bellefield).

I look forward to finishing up college, and finally adding those all imporant letters (B.A.) to my resume. As a kid raised in the '60s, I would like to have graduated in 1979 as I'd planned. But, as a science fiction fan, I'm jazzed by being a member of...

the class of 2001!
Laurie Mann Finally graduates! My Motorboard:  Finally Finished!  Started with the Class of 1979, Graduated with the Class of 2001!