For a woman in her mid-thirties, I think about college far too frequently. One of my most popular posts is about my collegiate days, I’ve reminisced about my roommates and the way we could destroy a kitchen, and my essay in “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth” is about a college pact.
I am many years from my college days, but this past weekend, I went back to school to attend BlogU, a blogging conference that took place at Notre Dame of Maryland University. We stayed in the dorms and attended sessions on campus, and we rocked our faces off at a retro prom hosted by NickMom. It was just like real college, but with less underage drinking and more Spanx.
Original image of my crazy eyes by Ellen Williams at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
It was a busy three days, and I loved it. There were tears when it came time to leave. Not only was I saying goodbye to friends I wouldn’t see for months, but I suspected my day-to-day life at home wouldn’t involve at least three laugh-cries a day. I left Baltimore feeling like I did the day after my wedding. I was exhausted from anticipation and celebration, and I was emotionally wrung out. I loved everyone, and felt immense gratitude to those who had a hand in making this weekend come to fruition: from Stephanie Giese, who founded BlogU, to my husband, to my local friend who watched my kids yesterday so my husband could work.
I am happy to be home, of course. My soul belongs with my husband and children, and I missed his strong embrace and their sweet voices, but three days of marinating in the company of like-minded people is something special. It invigorated my spirit, and it got my writing fingers all twitchy and ready to work.
I am inspired.
I am filled up.
I am excited about blogging, and anxious to make changes to my business model.
The transition back to reality reminds me of coming home from college for the summer. I would tearfully say goodbye to my friends, while looking forward to being with my family. Like I did yesterday, I would lug a bag of dirty laundry in the house, and immediately open the refrigerator. I would soon be asleep on the couch, my body knowing it was home, and collapsing into the welcoming embrace of the cushions.
Coming home from BlogU was also like college in that none of my tales of hilarity have resulted in amusement from my loved ones. This is why college kids give the standard “It’s good,” answer when asked about school. They can try to recreate the magic, but it is futile, and while everyone wants to know some knowledge was gleaned, specifics aren’t necessary. Also, no one thinks it’s funny when you describe choking on Doritos because you were eating them in your dorm bed after a party.
Coming down off the mountain is hard. The transition from mainlining inspiration and information without interruption, to returning to daily tasks and responsibilities can be jolting. I remember being warned of this phenomenon when I was at leadership camp in high school. We were given tools to lead and engage our peers, and spent three days being built up and challenged, and our counselors told us that the kids back at school wouldn’t be excited about the fun we had had, nor would they want to hear about the things we had learned. We were told to expect an emotional letdown, but that we would be able to infuse that magic we were bringing home into our school by implementing our learning, and channeling our enthusiasm.
I had an amazing weekend, with women who inspire me to be a better writer, a better blogger, and a better person. I made new friends, I solidified online friendships, and I worked hard as a member of the BlogU faculty. I can’t wait for next year, and I encourage anyone who was on the fence this year to take the leap and join us for a captivating weekend of learning, growing, connecting, and double-fisting cupcakes.
I have new friends, I have new goals, and I have a renewed spirit. That feels pretty great.
Image by Kelley’s Break Room.
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