life’s meta

I don’t really know how to get the flow of this post going, because I am stuck at one emotional knot when thinking about my humble beginning.

Last Friday I was invited to a special gathering/reunion. It was for people who had worked and held offices at the two houses on the campus of my alma mater. In fact, these two houses were being demolished this morning with the college’s approval to make a vacant lot for the future of a brand new science building. Fortunately, we were able to gather and reminisce the good old times.

Here is the writing on the wall that I left 13 years ago on my last day of the first job I ever had. Fresh out of college, with lots of student loans on my back, and no job. Somehow the universe made it work for me, and I was welcome back to my alma mater to work as an admission counselor, with an annual salary of $23,500 per year. As I wrote then, it was the beginning of my journey, defining my career path and profession.

The other piece about finding the Harvard man was an inside joke, as upon my announcement of going to grad school, everyone in the office started telling me to do so — find a Harvard man and get married. Obviously, I did not meet any Harvard man, but I found a man there whom as you all know as Mr. O. 😀


When I first got the job, the house was too small for an extra office, so they put me in a storage space (1) as a temporary office until two weeks later when a senior colleague left the job and I then inherited her space (2). There were four other colleagues whom I shared the second floor. The first floor was for graduate admission unit.

The building next door was the main office and official greeting space for guests, with small private rooms for counselors to meet with families. It also house the director’s office and operation management staff.

I have not seen most of my former colleagues for years, and it was a surprise to them that I showed up. One of them even flew in from Rochester, NY to attend the gathering. We reminisced good times (baby showers, welcome parties, holiday parties, birthday parties, scholarship days, moving days, etc.), and not so good times (death of family members, divorces, miscarriages, 9/11 and the aftermath.)

Some memories were so vivid, that we wanted to go back in time and enjoy the moments again, and then we realized how much time has passed, and how much we have grown in our individual universes.

My humble beginning, I am glad I was there to see it again before it becomes dust in an emptied lot.

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5 thoughts on “life’s meta

  1. I started my 35-year career in higher education as an admissions counselor at my alma mater too. I made $10,000 the first year and $16,000 the 6th and last year. Def. humble beginnings, but I too have many wonderful memories.

    1. oh my gosh, $10K the first year? How were you able to live off with that salary? I was lucky to live at home with my parents then, and able to pay student loans and help out with daily expenses. But somehow with a meager salary like that at the time, I was happy and content.

      What do you do now as a college administrator?

  2. Quay trở lại chốn cũ, lúc nào cũng ngập tràn cảm xúc ha em iu! Thích bức tường với những dòng chữ kia quá đi! ❤

    1. Ừ. Tui cũng quên là đã viết mấy câu đó cho đến khi trở lại thăm chốn cũ. Hôm qua người ta đã ủi bằng phẳng hai căn nhà đó rồi. Giờ nó thành tro bụi của hư vô.

      1. may là em iu còn ghé về thăm chốn cũ và chụp lại được mấy tấm hình cuối làm kỷ niệm. Chớ hông thôi giờ này nó thành tro bụi là cũng tan biến hết trơn rồi.

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