I stood there chatting with an old cheer friend. It was homecoming and a sprinkling of alumni were back to watch the Davis Hall Follies—a talent/Huntington based humor show. He was the first to point out the space difference and, after glancing around the place, I realized he was right. I spent four years here, and never had it seemed that little.
Logic would say I was younger and therefore smaller, so of course everything looked larger—you know, similar to visiting your old elementary school after years and years of absence—but I have not grown in size my one and a halfish years post-undergrad.
I’m an Alice in Wonderland fanatic, so a Lewis Carroll quotation popped into my mind.
It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
And while we’re on the quotation theme, why not throw in one from Elizabeth Gaskell, author of one of my favorite books (it’s also a fantastic four-hour-long BBC movie) North and South. This quotation comes from the screenplay, and it’s fantastic.
I learnt something when I went back to Helstone, expecting it to be the paradise I knew as a child. Try as I might, happy as we were, we can’t go back.
I am a different person than I was in undergrad. This isn’t necessarily strictly good or bad; I’m just different. We’re always growing, learning, changing—and we cannot go back. Nor should we go back. I looked around the auditorium and it suddenly felt small. During my years in college, my focus was there. My whole world was right there. My biggest priorities and primary friendships were all in that room, acquiring our 30 chapel credits and sharing in memories only a former Forester would understand. Life is different now. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.
A person deals with life one day at a time based on what they know at that particular moment. But the very process of being who we are and going through what we go through changes us. We become different just by living. If we were able to go back and face yesterday or last week or last month or last year again, we’d probably handle it differently. We’d bring a different person to that day. If I’m changed from just yesterday, of course I’m going to see my alma mater in a different way now.
For me personally, I couldn’t have asked for a better university to spend four years. I greatly value the memories I have from the place. I also really like where I’m at right now in life too. I live in an outstanding and supportive community. There’s so many involvements here I’m plugged into. I don’t wish I were anywhere else.
My world, my perspective has shifted. I’ll continue changing and shifting, both in small and large ways. That’s the wonderful thing about being a human and living life—it isn’t static. Each day and each you is new and different.
Now I wonder what other places will feel small.