As I wandered around campus of my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I initially was transported to an early time, when I was young, energetic and wide-eyed about what the future had to offer. Adding to the sense of those old days, I was accompanied by my dorm friend, Jeannette, marking the first time she and I had been on campus together since I graduated in 1988.

It wasn’t long, though, until I was rudely reminded of the passage of time. “Ma’am” — ouch! — was how I was addressed by the Greensboro advertising major sitting on the steps of the journalism school — forgive me, it’s been called the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for a decade or two. The J School isn’t even in the same, cramped building of my day.

On this humid day of this visit to campus, there were some additional differences along with the lines on my face and the sprinkling of gray in my hair. During my glorious four years at UNC, I fondly remember appreciating the squirrels scurrying in front of my feet and the sound of the fallen leaves crunching as I walked upon them on my way to class. Back then I alertly took in all the sounds and sights, realizing even at that age that life was great in in the Southern part of Heaven.

On this October day back in the present, however, many of the students walking by either had their earbuds firmly in place or were busily texting or talking on their smartphones. A few students sat on the quad or building steps Skyping. While I’m happy today to make use of these technologies, I’m glad my college years were free from such distractions.

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