Though fascinated by history in general, I am especially fascinated by history that has something to do with the people that I am close to. My mom (who is currently in Budapest with me) I am particularly close to, and I have always loved her to tell stories about her past, and loved to see how much she resembled me in the old black-and-white photographs that were all put in one blue falling-apart picture album, but unfortunately that album, which content covered the period from her birth to her moving out of the parents' house, was the only one she ever had until she met my dad. Then recently she got hold of a picture album that contained pictures of her time as a college student in the mid-80s. She used to go to college in Nijmegen and major in psychology, just like me now (and my dad around the same time as her), and for most of the time she lived in this one house together with some other college students. So recently she and her housemates got back in touch with each other thanks to Facebook, so they all decided to get together and have a reunion. One of them thought it would be a fun idea to go back to that particular house they all used to live in, and ask if they could come inside to see what it looks like nowadays, and so they did! The pictures above are all taken somewhere in between 1984 and 1990, in or near that particular house, the house that is the set for many great memories that my mom still holds.
One of her housemates happened to be her now-ex-boyfriend, whom she lived together with in that house. And he was the one who brought the picture album that he owns from that period in his life. Naturally, my mom appeared in many of the pictures that it contained. So my mom borrowed it from him to show to us at home, and to me in particular as she knows how fond I am of old photographs. As a result, I got very excited about the photographs that I was shown, and in particular about how they show quite well what college life here looked like about 30 years in the past, and so I asked her if I could share some of these pictures with you, like:
- Two Christmas dinners (photo #4 and #5), the latter being a gourmet dinner
- Photo #6: roadtrip to Nice to visit a friend who happened to be an au pair there
- Last three pictures: a lot of barbecuing on the rooftop of the house
I asked my mom some questions regarding her college time - a time that she likes to describe as "the best of her life".
Tell me about what it was like to live in that house that you lived in during your college years.
I used to live there from around 1984 to 1989, together with around 10 other students. I think we were pretty close for housemates during that time, as we did a lot of things together. I remember there was a piece of paper hanging in our kitchen, where you could put up your name if you were going to cook dinner that day. Everyone else who wanted to join and eat along with you that night, had to sign up on that list before 4pm.
When the soccer World Cup was being played in '88, we all watched it together in the room of one of us (*dad jumps in: "the year The Netherlands became champions!"*). And when the weather allowed it, we were a lot on our rooftop in those days, to barbecue for example, and we also celebrated Christmas together, as you can see in the pictures. One day two of my housemates got married, so we decorated the house (photo #2) for them. And another day we threw a large house party - with loud music and we played games and stuff, it was really fun.
What did a regular week look like for you as a college student?
Unlike you, I went to all the lectures. Then I did my homework, studied a lot for my exams...I also had a side job 2 to 3 times a week...and every Thursday we went a night out, usually to 'the Swing', a dance cafe where now 'Stretto' is located. In the beginning, I went to my childhood home every Friday to spend the weekend. Me and *name ex-boyfriend* used to have a car, so we went up and down by car every weekend, and usually we had to pick up a lot of others too who wanted to have a ride!
What do you think is different between your college time and mine?
When I was in college, all lectures and classes were scheduled, and we didn't have a say in that schedule unlike you. (Dad jumps in again: "the biggest difference is that all the college students nowadays go study abroad for a semester!"). And of course we had to study at the University 6 years in total, while now it's usually only four. I also think more people went to all the lectures all the time, perhaps because it wasn't being recorded back then. What's more, I also think that activities next to studying have become more important, like fraternities/sororities (in Nijmegen those were not very important in my days) and student associations.
Do you have some advice for college students today?
Everyone should move out of their parents' house, because it is so much more fun to live in the town where you go to college - otherwise you will miss out on a lot of things! And don't study all the time like I did, but also spend some time on other fun things besides your study, which can also be important, like join a student association for example. And I think Nijmegen is the best town for college students! It is not too large, everything is quite nearby each other (so I think you won't feel as lost as you might in a larger town, especially when it's your first time moving out), but nevertheless there's still a lot to do for college students. And of course Nijmegen has the 'Four Days Marches': back in my day, the walkers would still come through the street that we used to live in, so when they walked by we would all watch the march together in front of our house, or on the balcony! I had a great time as a college student, and I would do it all over again!
Thanks mom for your answers! :-)