Rob and I went up to the Lehigh Valley today to visit a friend and so I could show him around a bit. I went to Muhlenberg College, and so we stopped there for a little while.
It was amazing what had changed, and what had not. It was also amazing how much I felt at home, and yet how separated I felt at the same time.
College was a pretty good time for me. I had some really great friends, some good and bad roommates, and what I generally think of as a typical college experience. And for all of it, Muhlenberg was a fitting home. I enjoyed the atmosphere of that campus, and today I realized I still do.
The science building is new, the athletic center is new, and the student union is closed for renovations, but despite all these changes, it’s still my college. The tree lined brick pathways are still there, the manicured lawns are still the same, and it still has the same charming stone buildings I remember.
During my visit today I realized that, like me, Muhlenberg was still the same under all the changes.
Perhaps visiting my past has made me oddly introspective today, but I feel like it’s a good time to look back and to look ahead. Ten years ago I started at Muhlenberg, and I was pretty happy with the girl I was. Perhaps I was a bit shallow, perhaps I had unattainable dreams, but I was giving and kind.
The intervening years have weathered me a bit – I’ve lived through a lot, but I think much of it shaped me into a better person. I’m still giving and kind, but I have learned when giving more of yourself won’t help. I’ve learned that life won’t go your way just because you’re nice. I’ve learned thousands of things which have left me better and wiser than I was before, if a little more scarred.
As I look forward into the future, I hope that I never lose my sweetness – I think far too many people care too little about others.
I hope that I become a better judge of character and find the strength to keep the people who are bad for me and my family at a distance.
And I hope that I live up to my goals – so many people believe in me, and I don’t want to let any of us down.
Today I’m still the same girl I was, but with changes that have made me better.