Reflections from the Other Side…Or, Going Back to College as an Alum

This morning I woke up on my college campus for the first time in almost four months.

My college campus alma mater.

I woke up in the on campus apartment that the friend I was staying with lives in, rose from the couch that had been my bed for the night, and promptly went to look out the window.

It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous. The campus mall was brimming with green grass and the sky was blue. As I looked out at this scene, I found myself in awe of the beauty of this place that I had called home for four years. I looked out that window and I thought what a privilege it was to have this view. For four years of my life, I had had this view. Not from that same exact spot staring out that same exact window, of course. But I saw it every day. Early in the morning, I walked to classes on those sidewalks carved so effortlessly into the architecture of the mall. I trudged back from the library at 1 am closing time on those same sidewalks–exhausted, tired, craving sleep. I sat out on that green, green grass–or, in the spring time, grass still dead from six, seven months under snow–working on homework, spending time with friends (that one time drinking vodka disguised in a water bottle, progressively getting drunker as the sun beat down on us). I lived and breathed in that space. My whole being was a part of it.

It was my home for four years. And what a privilege to have called it home.

— — — —

Some places are just magical, you know? My alma mater will always be one of those places for me. This place shaped me. Many of my most critical moments of learning and growth happened not just on this campus, but because of this campus.

When I woke up today on that couch in my friend’s apartment…when I got up to look out that window…I was so very aware of that.

I was so very aware of how so very privileged I was to have had that view; to have occupied that space; and to be have been incredibly influenced by it. To still be incredibly influenced by it…even now, as an alum.

And I knew without a doubt that wherever I go in this world–Thailand, and then who knows where–this small liberal arts school on the prairie, this place that I can now call my alma mater…it will always be with me.

It’s the magic of it all.

It’s a part of me now.

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21 Replies to “Reflections from the Other Side…Or, Going Back to College as an Alum”

    1. For sure. I think we can continuously find special places throughout life, so youthfulness doesn’t always have to be a factor. That said, their seems to be a certain magic associated with youthfulness in general, so it might be a factor in making those places seem even more powerful, then.

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    1. Thanks! I guess you’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve always felt a really strong connection to my college campus, but that connection intensified like ten-fold when I visited the earlier this week. Nostalgia combined with realizing how much I really missed it there, I think.

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  1. Nostalgia hit you, too, eh? I visited my college several times after graduation, and it’s almost surreal how the school, a place which I had called my “second home” for four years, isn’t my home anymore. Imagine waking up to your alma mater in twenty years and seeing how much it has changed (or stayed the same)!

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    1. Haha, nostalgia hit me before I even graduated. That said, it was extremely powerful when I visited earlier this week. I currently live three hours away from my college so this was the first time that I was back since I left in May. Had to get back before I have many thousand of miles separating me from it. 🙂

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  2. Love this post – I’m literally smiling inside and out just reading it. Some places will always hold a special place in our hearts for how they’ve impacted our lives, sounds very much like this is your place 🙂 Karen XXX

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    1. Awwww thank you soo much, Karen. You’ve left a big smile on MY face.

      I hope this is one of a few. I mean, I’m 22 and off to travel the world. Who knows what places I’ll find and how they’ll affect me. That said, this is DEFINITELY one of those places. Hands down. No question.

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      1. Awwh glad you’re smiling too 😀 That makes both of us!!! I think you’ll have alot of special places in the future… you never stop finding new sentimental little havens that may not mean much to others but the world to you 😀 XXX

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  3. Oh, Morris. How I love thee. Lovely post, Britta! Next time you’re on campus, give it my love. Stroll through the bottom floor of Briggs for me. It was my favorite essay wiring spot and I never got to say goodbye.

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