Last night's spaghetti dinner was great fun. It was at a fraternity house at the university where Connie teaches. The fraternity does this each year to raise money for a charity, and two of her former students invited us, or rather invited Connie and her family, to join them. We were joined by those students and a friend for dinner. What a delightful time we had!
It was fun to sit with these three young men and hear about their lives. There was some talk about the classes that Connie teaches and their deep appreciation for her as a teacher and friend to her students, but most of the conversation was about their studies in general, their futures, fun events in their lives, etc. So refreshing to have quality conversations with people whose ages tend to make one think of other things, such as partying, dating, drinking, etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't have bad impressions of young people in general, but it has been a while since I've had such an opportunity to hear something so hopeful about our future. And these three young men aren't stuffed shirt bores, either. All three had many fun, funny, and exciting aspects to their lives to complement their solid plans for their futures.
One of them had a kerchief tied around his head and sported a groomed beard and mustache. I asked about their majors and was surprised when he said History. Don't know what I expected, but his attire was not what I would have expected to associate him in that major. Since history is an interest of mine, I was immediately drawn into conversation with him, asking his what his career goals were. Eventually he wants to teach, but meantime he feels he has a lot to learn before he undertakes passing it on to others. He is currently working at a museum where he was given a task of identifying unmarked coins from the ancient Roman and Greek periods. It meant a lot of research for him over the past year, and he has developed a time line with the historical points of each coin that will be made into a display which will span over forty feet in the museum! What a fun task! Kylee is also a history buff, so she spent some time talking with him, and he was amazed by her knowledge. She is a smart and well rounded child with interests that range from sunrise to sunset. She held her own in a conversation with him for several minutes.
The other two are engineers-in-the-making. One is studying aerodynamics, recently engaged to his high school sweetheart who attends another university. They will marry sometime after she graduates in 2009. I forget the exact type engineering major of the third one, but he is a double major with Spanish as his second degree. He is currently leaning toward doing more with the Spanish, and Connie is encouraging him as he seems to have a gift for language. His mother is very ill, and his worries about her cause him to struggle at times. He has maintained his grades and his scholarships, essential now that his family is able to help him financially given the burden of medical expenses well over and above their insurance coverage. I thought about how difficult it must be to be so young, around 21 I'd guess, and to carry that kind of weight in concern.
It was a very good evening, good company, and I left feeling warmly encouraged about the future in the hands of such young people. I realize that since I quit working where I was able to have frequent contact with college students and recent graduates beginning careers, I've lost the sense of hope that comes from seeing and talking with such bright, hopeful stewards of our future. I've missed that.