Thursday, May 20, 2010

College: a reflection on time and place

It's a funny thing, time. I've been out of college now longer than I was in.  I just spent the last week at SFC in a Wilderness First Responder course with current SFC students. The faces and names have changed, but in many ways the students haven't. They're still talking about the same SFC things as when I was a student.

I love coming back to campus, because in so many ways it just feels natural. It feels like home when I walk across campus. But it is somehow bittersweet for me to return. I love the memories- I love recalling the people and events that helped shape me. But, I am reminded that that time has passed. I can tell I'm older. Several years older. Part of me is sad that I'm not a SFC student anymore. The stories from my time at SFC are like ancient history to the current students. Time marches on.

I've done so much since I graduated. Really! Far more than I did when I was a student! I've been to three new continents and back to Africa (three times!). I'm halfway through my Ph.D. I'm married. I've had jobs, owned cars, moved several times, and lost three loved ones. But since SFC is where I feel like the modern me started, it feels like my roots. It feels like the place to return to, to pay homage to.

One year after I graduated, I wrote:
Somehow, in four years I managed to bond myself and part of my identity to the physical SFC. SFC is an inextricable part of who I am. It brought so much love, peace, and happiness into my life. My time there has given me the strength and skills to go beyond, but I can't fully escape the longing to be there again.
Maybe it is bittersweet because I know that even if I went back there to teach, it won't ever be home again like it was as a student. That time and stage has passed, and with melancholy I accept it.


EcoGeoFemme said...

I hate that You Can Never Go Home Again feeling. It's a big reason I didn't entertain the idea of an overseas postdoc. But even when you stay in one place, things change.

Bittersweet, like you said.

Karina said...

"You can never go home again" is the perfect way to describe it, EGF!