I've been working on a story recently that has taken me back to my alma mater.
I have spent a considerable amount of time reading and looking at old pictures of life on campus at Kent State University and the events that took place on May 4, 1970.
Now, I have no intention on talking about what happened that day, because I have plenty of that to do on Tuesday. What I do want to talk about is how much that place has meant to me and to my life.
I was not the typical freshman student, learning the ropes of Kent State as I went along. I spent two years in community college, trying to ''figure out what I want to do.'' Unfortunately, what I wanted to do did not involve going to class or studying.
I realized that I needed a change and I needed to take college seriously, so I applied to Kent State with really no belief that I would get in.
Luckily for me, I did.
I was 20 years old and ready to become a real college student and not just a guy who looked and played the part.
I think starting at the age I did gave me a different perspective than an 18-year-old freshman, thrust into the cramped and odd smelling freshman dorms.
A group of guys that I knew and I rented an apartment in Holly Park Apartments - No. 311.
Something that is a real shock of difference from living at home and going to a community college is that you are now living in a community, a miniature city of people your own age. Everyone is trying to ''figure out what they want to do.''
It did not take long for me to fall in love with the campus and the atmosphere of the university. Sure, getting up for an 8 a.m. Monday class was never easy, but it was exciting to me to get out there and really become engrossed in what the school had to offer.
I spent most of my time and days in Satterfield Hall, the English building, and the library that often became a second home during my stay at Kent.
There were a few times that I was up on the 7th floor all night long, taking an hour cat nap on the desk and then waking up to keep on going.
I don't think I truly realized how much I loved the school or how much I was going to miss it until I had a chance to walk away from it for a few years.
For a broke college student, once you are getting close to graduation and getting a ''real'' job, you begin to look forward to graduating and moving on. But now that I look at it I can't believe that I ever wanted to leave.
Sure, I'm older now. And, yes, the last time I went out to Kent and looked around I felt like an old man, but the place and everything in it seem so familiar.
It was sad, however, to see a few things had changed after I left. Like the Doghouse, a little hole in the wall place that we would get together on Tuesday nights after late classes. It was small, not real nice inside, but the pizza was the best and the pool table was almost never in use. Sadly, it is now a slab of concrete.
But just because it is gone doesn't mean that I can't look back at the time that we spent there and how much I really appreciate those times.
I met my wife at Kent State, and I met a few very good friends while I was there. And, funny enough, the five people who used to be a part of the Doghouse Tuesday Nights all now have a child of their own.
I now have a younger brother who is about to finish his first year of school and I can't tell him enough to enjoy every second he gets. He said to me that he is looking forward to just being done with it, but I have to stop him right there. Appreciate college for everything that it is.
You can learn so much about yourself and the world around you during those years. You will have teachers who you can't stand and a few that can really change your life. You will love and grow to hate the food, but it is worth every last moment of it.
I still get that sentimental tug when I drive through Kent on a nice day. Even though there are thousands of new people, living where I used to, eating where I liked to eat, and sitting in the chairs that I sat in ... those are part of my life.
I will always consider Kent State a home to me, no matter how much things change.