Recently, I’ve gotten involved with my college alma mater, as a mentor and a member of the alumni board of my college within the university. One thing struck me, not too long ago, as I walked across campus. My alma mater has changed quite a bit since I left there, after obtaining my bachelor’s degree, 30 years ago. Yet, when I step foot on campus, part of me still feels like I’m going home again.
This feeling is rather odd, when I stop to think about it. I spent a mere four years of my life there—a drop in the bucket, considering that I’ve spent 12 times that many years not being there, both before and after. Yet, walking on campus, three solid decades after I left, still evokes strong feelings and strong memories.
Perhaps it’s because I still count several people from those days among my very closest and dearest friends. However, while I think that’s a big part of the feeling, there’s more to it than that. I believe those coming-home feelings are a testament to the impact the college experience can have on the lives of people who are just beginning to reach for adulthood.
To all those high school seniors who are ready to fling their mortarboards high in the air and spend a carefree summer, before moving on to college: Make the most of your college days. Soak up new friends, new experiences, and new knowledge. Enjoy the new feelings of freedom, and embrace the new responsibility you have for ensuring your own success and happiness. Enjoy what you can, even while working your butts off, because the experiences coming up are likely to have a lasting impact on your entire life.