My college of choice in 1968 was Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas. Right after I left in September 1969, it became Texas Tech University. I chose Texas Tech because my older sister Nancy attended there for a couple of years. It was a convenient choice. I never seriously considered going anywhere else.
I enrolled in Texas Tech in the fall of 1968. I lived on campus, and my roommate Paula was a good friend from high school. We lived on the sixth floor in Wall Hall, one of the newest high-rise residence halls on campus at that time. It was a very nice facility. The rooms had built-in furniture: two twin beds that converted to couches, two desks, two chests of drawers, two small closets, and one small sink right next to the room’s entry door. The bathroom with toilets, showers, and one tub was down the hall. Wall Hall is co-ed now with separate floors for boys and girls. I’m so glad co-ed dorms didn’t yet exist when I was there. I still don’t understand why anyone thinks co-ed dorms are a good idea.
Someone told me ahead of time that if I had not already memorized my social security number, I would certainly have it memorized before I completed signing up for classes. True. I was always good at math in high school, so I didn’t hesitate to declare math as my college major. I quickly discovered, however, that Analytical Geometry and Calculus were nothing like high school math. Hours of nightly homework and a class of 40+ students caused my immediate change of heart for math. At the end of the year, I was ready to change my major.
Other subjects I took at Tech were Zoology, Botany, Advanced Composition, Freshman Literature, and Beginning German. My Advanced Comp/Freshman Lit class was held in an auditorium, where the professor stood on the stage and the students sat in the audience in assigned seats. My big takeaway from this class was that someone near me reeked of a terrible odor. I never identified the odor, but I suspect it was a combination of food odors (from a job, perhaps) and cigarette smoke. I dreaded going to this class.
Texas Tech’s campus was very large. I had no car, so I got a lot of exercise walking to and from class. There must have been some kind of shuttle around campus, but I never used it. My long walks to classes on opposite sides of the campus caused me some concerns, especially in inclement weather. I stressed every day about being late to a class and had nightmares for years to come about running to class and never getting there.
For entertainment Paula and I, along with our Wall Hall girlfriends, explored around campus and around town, visited local parks, and sat in one of the sixth-floor dorm windows (especially at night) to watch storms approach. I attended a few of the frequent mixers held in the lobby between Wall Hall and the adjacent Gates Hall; and a group of us once drove to Clovis, New Mexico, for no special reason.
Since I had paid for room and board and there were very few choices for eating out, I usually ate in the dorm’s cafeteria. Pizza was not a common meal item in 1968, but there was a pizza place walking distance from the campus. I doubt grocery stores even had frozen pizza then. If they did, it wouldn’t have been very good. I had never eaten pizza before, and I was sure I wouldn’t like it, but my friends told me not to worry and promised to make sure one of our pizzas was cheese. They assured me that I would like it, and I did. It’s funny to me that one of my top memories from Tech is pizza.
In 2010 I visited Lubbock, and I was most shocked by the commercial development adjacent to the campus. It was unrecognizable but truly improved. Counting the college credit courses I took periodically after Texas Tech, I probably accumulated the equivalent of almost three years.
Now, recognizing the introvert I am, I am surprised I ever chose to go to school so far from home. I guess I thought if my sister Nancy could do it, so could I. Now that I think about it, I am surprised she ever chose to go that far from home either.
[Most, if not all, of these Texas Tech photographs were taken by my friend Paula. Thank you!]