Every year on the day before the start of a new school year I take my son to the UCLA campus, my alma mater. I take him there because I’m hoping to get him in the right mind set for the year ahead and to (subliminally?) keep his eye on the prize. As if I am somehow imprinting the college experience on his developing brain. Anyone remember that old Saturday Night Live skit where they would lower the voice slightly and say what they really mean in between sentences – a joke about subliminal messages? I always think of that skit when I think I’m communicating something subliminally. Anyway, I digress. I let him pick one item of clothing from the student store. This year he picked a cotton baseball jacket. He looks forward to this excursion all summer long – mostly because he wants to buy something and second for the lunch at CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) in Westwood Village. But then yesterday he said he wants to go to UCLA for college. Maybe it’s working. But I’m not getting my hopes up, he’s only in 4th grade.
He started getting bored and was done with it all by the time we walked “a thousand miles” across campus to take a photo of my favorite building – Powell Library. Maybe next year we can actually go inside. By this time the excursion was more for me and less for him. Powell Library is awe inspiring. It was constructed from 1926 through 1929 in the Romanesque Revival style of architecture. It was one of the first four buildings on campus. Above the entryway is a depiction of two figures reading books bearing the words: “Haec studia adulescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant” which is Latin for “studying in youth sustains delight into old age” from Cicero’s Pro Archia Poeta.
I consider myself both fortunate and unfortunate as far as my college experience goes. I was unfortunate for the same reason that I was fortunate: I was in my 30s when I attended UCLA. I had made the misguided decision in high school that I didn’t need to study because I was going to become a make-up artist – and so why, I thought, should I bother with college. It’s ironic that I never became a make-up artist, but I went to college. I’m so glad I did!