It's a cliche to refer to the college experience as "the best years of your life". And for me, it's not even true. The best years of my life came after graduation, without a doubt.
But, I have to agree with Gest that the college years do represent critical years. Some of the people I've met during my years as an undergraduate student at Case have had a profound impact on my life, extending long after graduation. I've stayed in contact with many of those people.
My husband, Vic, is also a Case alum, so our wedding included many college pals. It's still funny for me to think of how well-mannered Vic's fraternity brothers were that evening. I had expected them to be the crazy hellraisers I knew years ago!
Vic has remained very close to many of his friends from Case, especially the ones he had met in the Case commuter lounge. They played on sports teams together, devised and managed fantasy football leagues (Case engineering students + sports fanaticism = supercrazy!), helped each other get through challenging classes, etc.
During the holidays, we have an annual Case commuters reunion where we all get together for a night of food and games. One December, everyone cheered when Vic and I announced our engagement. The next year, we spread the happy news of our pregnancy. It's been wonderful being able to share everyone's triumphs - weddings, babies, new jobs, etc.
Yesterday, though, we shared a very sad day. Our friend Zaid's mother passed away late last week and yesterday was her funeral. Zaid and all three of his siblings graduated from Case with undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees, and the funeral service included many Case grads. While it was sad to see so many Case alums - doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, educators - mourning together, it was also heartwarming too. People had flown in from all over the country (and world) to comfort the family.
I guess that's one of the things we don't really talk about in our publications or on our Web site. Besides the top-notch education you get at Case, you also make lasting relationships that carry you when you really need it.