Away to College

Today finds me in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I’m leaving my daughter to start her college career at Tulane University. It’s an exciting, bittersweet time and I find myself remembering when I went away to college thirty years ago. I grew up in Southern California and, like my daughter, wanted to experience some place different when I went to school. Of the schools I was accepted to, I decided on the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in the small town of Socorro. One of its strong appeals was that the offices for the VLA radio telescope were on campus. Moving from a city sixty miles east of Los Angeles to a town of 8,000 people was a huge change. Here’s the view from my dorm room.

dorm-view

I remember the combination of nerves and excitement from my first day. I looked forward to meeting new people. I hoped I would do well in classes and that the classes would actually be engaging. I remember the uncertainty about meeting my roommate for the first time. It turns out we got along rather well. Our relationship was not without difficulties, but I’m pleased to say we’ve remained friends even over the distance of time and space. New Mexico Tech proved to be an extremely difficult school, but I graduated in four years and I even spent my senior year working at the VLA doing preliminary site survey work for the telescope that would become the ALMA Array.

While working on my physics degree at New Mexico Tech, I pursued my writing. I worked on short stories and even a Star Trek novel I hoped one day to sell to Pocket Books. When I realized that would be a challenge, I created a new universe for that story. That work laid the foundation for The Pirates of Sufiro and its sequels. After graduating, I stayed for graduate school. During that time, I found my first writer’s group.

Since college, I’ve been constantly employed either in the astronomy or writing fields. I feel like my time in college set me on a good path toward a sustainable career and I feel good about the education my daughter will receive at Tulane. I will miss my daughter terribly, but I’m also excited for the opportunities ahead of her.

Now some people may read this and think that since my daughter’s attending a private university like Tulane we must be very well off, indeed. In fact, my daughter is able to go through a combination of scholarships and grants. My choice of career has had many rewards, but a top-dollar income isn’t one of them. What’s more, I may have full time employment at an observatory, but writing is a significant part of my income.

I hope you’ll take a moment to browse my books page to see if there’s something you’d enjoy. Each title and cover will take you to a page with more info and buying links. Of course, not only will you be helping us out as our family goes through changes, you’ll be getting an exciting, thrill packed story in return.

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4 comments on “Away to College

  1. College comes up fast, doesn’t it? Seems like they still should be in middle school!

    • Indeed it does! It’s hard to believe how fast this day came. As it turns out, my youngest is still in middle school – which is kind of nice. Still a few years to go before we’re truly empty nesters.

  2. dm yates says:

    How fun. I remember leaving for college and you’re right. It’s bittersweet memories.

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