Thursday, May 31, 2012

About Finch

It was 1971 and I was more than halfway through what started out to be a glorious first year at Northeastern University in Boston.  I’d gone there because it was a co-op (work/study) school  you went to school for five years (“middlers” were between sophomores and juniors) and graduated with two full years of work experience on your resume.  Along with getting an education, I’d be able to work and earn my tuition.  It seemed a great way to get an education. 

Being the first  in my family to attend college, I didn't feel I had anyone I could go to for help.   I soon idolized my RA (a junior!) who took me under her wing and provided me with her affection and guidance.   One day, all of that changed and I transitioned from our dorm counselor’s pet to her pariah.  Soon my happy life turned into a tumultuous mess I 
couldn't navigate. For months I was miserably unhappy and looking to transfer.

One of my mother’s
dry-cleaning customers mentioned this girl’s school in Manhattan: Finch College.

“Dotty, you should send your daughter to Finch.  Tropicana orange juice’s daughter went 
there. The daughter of IBM’s chairman went there. Tricia NIXON went there.”
I wasn’t crazy about the all-girls thing but there was appeal to being smack dab in the middle of Manhattan.

When I went for my interview, I found it even more appealing.  I met with the Registrar and Director of Financial Aid who was standing in for the Director of Admissions.  She was amazing in every way  smart, funny, thoughtful, practical, just someone I really wanted to be around and learn from; someone I immediately looked up to and felt, this is where I should be.

Early one Sunday morning, my parents brought me to this 77th between Park and Madison to start my new life.  It was the start of my sophomore year.   I headed down to the cafeteria. I had worked in the cafeteria at Northeastern and had to eat dinner at 4:30 before the mess hall opened and the masses arrived.  The joke in our cafeteria was that the meat was the same every day, it just changed color  from brown to tan to gray.

When I entered there was no cafeteria; but there was a carpeted dining room with real artwork, crystal chandeliers, Spode china on the tables, and a chef in a white apron and a big white hat (yes, a chef’s hat!) asking, 

    “Miss, would you like Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine this morning?”

     And that is how I ended up at Finch College, where I didn't belong.

1 comment:

  1. Of course I love this one!!! Didn't I read this before? Did you post it prior to this time?