Graduate remembers his time spent at Kent State


This is what I exclaimed twenty years ago when I stepped outside into the cold, near-zero-degree air on the Kent State campus to start my Spring 1985 classes as a college sophomore.

Oh yes, those wonderful first days back at campus, after working nearly full-time hours over Christmas break in that old Maple Heights factory: my thoughts were primarily on what was expected in my new classes and on checking out girls I was hoping to ask out;

Scouring the campus bookstore for the books I would need and coming out with a whole new hairstyle, a result of the hair-raising experience of seeing how much all my “required” books were going to cost;

The twice-annual run-ins with Kent State Parking Services (to which I referred to as Kent State Pain and Suffering), trying to get a parking pass within a light year of where my classes were being held;

Scanning the campus bulletin boards for which aspiring female model would be selling her food coupon books she wouldn’t need that I could then get at a decent price (I’m assuming by now Kent State Food Services has replaced the food coupon books with something more 21st century);

Debating on whether this would be the semester I would actually volunteer myself as a nude model for art classes, much to the comic relief of those art students;

I would be getting a new car (1985 Mustang GT), taking my first calculus classes and meeting the girl on campus who would in two years become my wife (and then my ex-wife nine years after that).

I remember those tests in American History classes, the ones consisting of having to write two large essays and finding that one essay was marked down big-time by the grader, while the other went through unscathed. Funny how that always seemed to work.

I would also head to Florida for spring break for the first time as a college student (driving the new Mustang), joined by two female friends who needed a ride, much to my soon-to-be girlfriend’s consternation who then promptly bought an airline ticket to Fort Lauderdale to ensure I behaved myself.

Hard to believe that two decades have come and gone since those days. Two decades (and 25 pounds heavier) and how I wish that my only responsibilities nowadays were good grades and impressing dates.

My, where does the time go, I thought to myself as I stepped outside this morning — DANG, IT’S COLD OUT HERE — into the 41-degree air, which doesn’t sound cold … until you consider I live in central Florida (Cape Canaveral).

Some things never change.

B. (Hank) Gittings is a digital imaging and database systems analyst for NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He graduated from Kent State in 1988.