Is College an Activity or a Lifestyle?

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Is College an Activity or a Lifestyle? Nikaurys and I became fast friends in the kindergarten Sunday school class at our Mennonite church. We used to beg our parents to let us spend Sunday afternoons together so we could play all the games we dreamed up. Our Sunday friendship continued throughout junior high and high school. Today I am sitting in a dorm room in northern Indiana, looking at walls covered with pictures of Nikaurys and I playing house under the coconut palms in her yard, the two of us at church camp, and our fifteenth birthdays. I have not seen Nikaurys since I went home for Christmas break last year. As time goes by, I feel like I am becoming more distanced from her because now that we are both in college, our experiences are very different. Yet I know that when I see her again, we will be able to talk about the common aspects of our college experiences, regardless of culture. My college experience in the United States is very different than Nikaurys'. When I go to dinner, the food service attendant greets me by saying "good evening, Elisabeth," as she reads my name off the I.D. card that she is scanning the value of another meal from. I smile, and politely ignore the fact that no one calls me Elisabeth. The Marriott cafeteria is busy with the 5:30 p.m. rush, so I wait in line behind at least twenty other people. Dinner tonight is a choice of soup and sandwich, mashed potatoes and gravy, or a salad. I load my antiseptic-looking plastic tray with chili and a grilled cheese sandwich and casually scan the crowd at the tables while I fill my glass with root beer. When I spot my roommate and a few of my friends talking animatedly at a table by the window, I carry my tray over to join them. The table is already full, but people stack their trays together so I can fit in. As I bite into my sandwich, the topic of conversation turns to whether we have set a record for the number of people around a table at the Marriott or not. Someone claims that the record number is thirteen, but after several minutes of loud arguments, we decide that it would be impossible to fit that many people in. At her home in Santo Domingo, my friend Nikaurys' dinner is much quieter affair.
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