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Yes, everything’s as if we never said goodbye.

July 17, 2012

Everyone has that one place… that place that always feels like home no matter how long you’ve been away. That place that changes yet, if given an opportunity, you can step into its rhythm so quickly, it’s as though you never missed a beat. That place that opens its arms to you and comforts you by its very existence, and you know you can always go back, even if just for an hour.

My college is that place.

I spent four incredible years at Saint Mary’s. I worked on campus a couple of summers, too. I grew up in its shadow, 12 miles away. But it wasn’t until my first official campus visit in high school that I got a taste of how sumptuous the experience of it is. By the time I moved into the on-campus apartments my senior year, I knew how meaningful and unique my experience at Saint Mary’s would be.

Now I’m employed by the College once again, but as a camp instructor this summer. Everything is different but nothing has changed. The auditorium still smells the same. The classroom where I teach is the classroom in which I had one of my first Communication classes. I’m teaching alongside my very first college professor, and her son is still working the front desk of the dorm. There are familiar faces everywhere I turn–the head of security is still the same dark haired woman, the lady who swipes ID cards at the dining hall is still there, the woman with the outrageous scrunchies still works in the bookstore, and my old boss in IT may have a different office, but she’s still keeping her eye on network security.

It’s as though I stepped back in time five years… but this time I feel older, more prepared to soak up what Saint Mary’s has to offer. I have regrets, like, why have I never walked the trail behind the cemetery? And why have I never run the perimeter of campus? But now I have second chances.

I do think my college experience is unusual in many ways. My alma mater is a women’s college. It’s affiliated with Notre Dame, known for its strict adherence to Catholicism. Sisters of the Holy Cross live in a convent directly behind my dorm. Yet, it’s where I found my feminism and my politics. It’s where I learned and witnessed the meaning of social justice. It’s where I learned who I am and allowed myself to be me.

On Friday, some of the campers sang the song “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from the musical Sunset Boulevard. I cried.  It is precisely how I feel about this place.

I’ve spent so many mornings just trying to resist you.
I’m trembling now, you can’t know how I’ve missed you,
Missed the fairy tale adventure
In this ever spinning playground
We were young together.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 9:57 am

    i feel exactly the same way about my alma mater – i get it 🙂 enjoy!

    • July 18, 2012 2:15 pm

      Me, tooooo, Alexa! 🙂

      • July 18, 2012 2:16 pm

        Dayton, right? I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about UD from alums. It strikes me as remarkably similar to Saint Mary’s. 🙂

  2. July 17, 2012 12:03 pm

    That’s how I felt about my summer camp!!

  3. July 17, 2012 1:03 pm

    I love nostalgia. I’ve been feeling that way while looking through old photos of my graduate school. I spent four years there and miss it a great deal since I moved back home. It turns out it’s one of the things I miss most about LA.

  4. July 18, 2012 9:13 am

    It is so weird! I am currently living at my alma mater again working with kids in a camp too! It is the strangest feeling. I have these moments where I can’t quite grasp that college is over and has been over for years and I am never going to go back there as a naive young woman. Then I have other moments where I am so glad I am not 18 years old again trying to figure college out. And then I realize it has been nearly 9 years since I was a college freshman and I sort of want to vomit. *sigh* The complexities of being a 20-something never cease to amaze me.

  5. July 18, 2012 2:16 pm

    Totally not the point, but I think it’s interesting how Catholicism is now associated with NOT being progressive, but most Catholics USED to be Democrats.

    My, how the times have changed!

    (I completely relate. College was The Best. But my life now is pretty freaking fantastic, too. :))

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