kiranlightpaw: (oldschool)
[personal profile] kiranlightpaw
In keeping with my "10 years since..." theme this year...

On this day 10 years ago, I loaded almost everything I owned into a hatchback and drove five hours and two states away, to start a new life in a town I had only visited before.

I was living with a guy I knew from my local area, and I had just gotten the car a few days before I left. It was a manual transmission, and I was still learning how to drive it. We left that afternoon because we weren't going to be able to move into the dorms until the following morning, so we decided to leave and stay at a hotel. I remember having real fun trying to master the manual transmission in stop-and-go traffic on the downtown connector in Atlanta. We ended up staying in a hotel in LaGrange, Georgia, for the night and then, first thing the following morning, we drove to Auburn to get checked in. I was so excited!

The following morning, my Dad arrived from Tennessee with a few other items I'd forgotten. We went to Lowes in Opelika and bought a big rug for the room, then went about setting everything up. We also went to Kroger - the one on Dean Rd. - and he nicely bought me my first round of groceries.

And then, he left. And that was the only time I teared up slightly as the enormity of being "on my own" for the first time finally hit me. In order to get my mind off it, I hopped on my bike and biked around campus a bit. To give you an idea of what it was like then:
  • All those fancy new dorms weren't there, and there wasn't even parking in most of that area yet. Where the "Village" dorms are now was the drill field, and there was an old airplane hanger. A section of Wire Rd was a one-way street from just past Donahue to just past Roosevelt.

  • Thach Avenue ran all the way through campus, and you could drive on it all the way too.

  • Where all the parking is at the Western end of campus now was the old Village dorms. I eventually met a few people that lived back in there.
I remember biking for hours all over the campus, just taking it all in. I eventually ended up eating at Milos (where the Chik-Fil-A is now) because the Student Union wasn't open yet.

After all the time and all the dreaming, this was it! I was here!

That night I got my computer hooked up. Remember when I fired up Napster - yup, the good ol' days of Napster - and being massively shocked when an MP3 downloaded in about 10 seconds. I had gone from a "high-speed" ISDN line at home to the University's stupid-fast WAN. Hell, I'm just now getting back to the speeds I could draw when I lived on campus.

I remember that MP3 was "Desert Rose" by Sting, because I had heard it in the car while driving down and made a mental note to download it.

One of my biggest regrets from my years prior to about 2002 or 2003 is that I didn't take nearly enough pictures. I wish I had taken a lot more, frankly, because I love looking at the memories. Here's a handful of shots that I do have from those first few weeks.


CDV F-106. My first home on my own.


The kitchen/living room/lounge. CDV was small apartments.


My room. I was fortunate to live there when it was only 1 to a room.


Wire/Magnolia, circa Fall 2000. That open area to the right was the drill field. That's all dorms now.


The view out the window of CDV F-106.


At the time I took this, I thought this was funny because it said "War Eagle! Got beer?" This time when I looked at it, my first thought was "HOLY CRAP! Look at how cheap the gas was!"


This is an amazing shot because of what it is. This is my FIRST football game as an Auburn student. We were playing Wyoming on a Thursday night. We won 35-21.


It's amazing I can remember everything about that day. The sights, the smells, the sounds. I remember what I was wearing and everything that I did. Hell, it still feels like it just happened, and I have such a hard time realizing that it has really been a decade since that warm summer day.

The next four years would take me places I never thought I'd go, and I'd meet people I never thought I'd meet. I'd go from being a nerdy kid to a mature (well, mostly) functioning adult over that wild period. But, for me, this is where it all started. My first step into the bigger world.
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Kiran Lightpaw

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