Moving seems to be a major part of the college life experience, whether it’s relocating out of parental households, from room to room within the dorms, out of the dorms, apartment to apartment or apartment to house. I moved a lot as an undergrad – moved out of my parents’ house, then only stayed in one place for a full year once. I managed to move three times during one winter term. But that was back in the days when two boyfriends and three shopping carts managed to schlep my stuff along quite nicely from block to block in the University of Oregon student ghetto.
Even when I lived in a student coop, I managed to move from room to room two out of four terms. Moving just seemed to be a fact of life. It seemed to keep my load of possessions down as well, although my books kept sneaking up and expanding on me. But then I could at least sneak some things back to my parents’ house and keep my own load down, remaining relatively possession-free.
I was reasonably certain that moving would not be a feature of my graduate school life. I planned on it not being so. When I started school a year and three months ago, I felt certain I would be living in the same small house in Westmoreland until hubby and I were ready to retire. I knew it would be a challenge trying to successfully complete a Masters program in a small house with two adults, a teen and one rabbit, but I figured I could do it.
Ha! Of course, one knows – or should know – that to make such an assumption only means that something will rise up to change things. First, the son got sick with a chronic illness, which strongly suggested that his own move upon adulthood might be delayed. Then a close friend of his moved away from Portland, but soon begged to come back and live with us. Then one rabbit became two rabbits. I learned to write papers and study in a small, two-bedroom, one-bath house with four humans and two lepus in and around and about (my computer was in the living room near the family TV and the friend was living on the couch), but it was a challenge. The spouse started muttering about remodeling the house. I contemplated moving twice, once to temporary quarters while the contractors worked their magic. “No,” I said. “No remodel.”
Somehow we ended up looking at houses over Christmas. The third one called to us. We juggled house bids and snowstorms. We got the house, of course. Then it became the dance of the contractors. Throughout, I put down my foot, “No moving until spring break.” No way was I allowing my computer and stacks of paper to leave where I knew where everything was until I was finished with the term.
Of course, I started moving two weeks out from spring break. Boxes started following me home from local stores, the Ed School office, and other mysterious sources. As I started packing, I became painfully aware that it is one thing to move when all of your stuff can fit easily into three shopping carts because it’s your third move of the term; but still another to move when you’ve lived in the same house for seventeen years and both sets of parents have died, leaving you all sorts of family paperwork, heirlooms, and bric-a-brac that you can’t fob off on anyone else.
Nonetheless, moving happened. I went from throwing together my last pieces of the work sample one day to moving the next. I can report that moving in grad school and after seventeen years in the same house is a major pain. We’ve already decided that next move we will absolutely, positively, dump more stuff before we begin packing.
Once again I’ve managed to maintain that fine old college tradition of moving at least once during the school year. Even in grad school, even in my forties, it still held true. I still think about getting a doctorate – eventually – but can I afford to move during that time?
Next time I swear I won’t assume one darn thing.