When I started Cal Poly I participated in an orientation program the week before classes started. The Week of Welcome (WOW) was instrumental in getting me comfortable by associating me with a small group of people to a point that I was never alone in my somewhat small new world. Three of these individuals rushed a fraternity (something I had little knowledge about) and then became very engaged with it. If I wanted to spend time with these people, I would have to do it doing what they did. AGR might have been the smarter choice (Alpha Gamma Rho – Agriculture Fraternity), but I have never been accused of being too smart. These friends I made during WOW and in APX have become family.
I had to take the oldest daughter along with me. Maybe she would remind me who I was if I got too out of line college reminiscing and headed down problem paths? I took her because I thought it would be good Daddy-Daughter time. Yes, she was the youngest there. But there wasn’t much difference between my HS senior and my college freshman co-ed brothers. She enjoyed herself at the banquet; mixing well and enjoying the food. I managed to keep pace with her. There is little difference between this ’82 APXer and my brothers who will be graduating this June.
There is a big difference although in the cost of their education. I easily covered the cost of tuition and other expenses. Now it can be the cost of a home! Our government’s current involvement has created a situation where costs are inflated and irrational. Do you need a degree to guarantee employment? Would learning a trade be a better option at earning a living? I do know that too many students are graduating with crushing student loans! Likely the best thing that I got out of college are my friends. I did learn how to pass a class and better yet, I have become proficient at knowing how to learn. But how close are our high schools at providing these same two outcomes? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Thirty hours and 759 miles later I had a trip of a lifetime with my daughter; I am simple that way. One of her comments while touring campus struck a chord with me, “Cal Poly is like its own little city!” I couldn’t as easily tell the pastures and the crop lands as I once did in bygone days. They have sprouted buildings. I have told my APX brothers that they should be thanking me for feeding them; you can focus on your art while not having to hunt or gather. I am still their token aggie. Two more daughters; two more escapades? Do something with someone this week; show them some love! Thank you. ■
— Scott Arens is a lifelong resident of Arbuckle. To contact Scott email firstname.lastname@example.org