Back to School Nostalgia

The end of summer or back to school time brings in a wave of college nostalgia to my shore. Over the last few years it gets heightened by all the Smith pictures on Instagram and Facebook. It’s more than just nostalgia for the first time I went off on my own and met new people from different backgrounds and cities. That’s definitely a big part of it, but it’s also a yearning for Smith…for what life was like there and for those specific college friends. It was a time and place that can never be replicated and it was truly special.

My family, more like my brothers, makes fun of how I talk about Smith so fondly. When I mention someone who went there or talk about some experience I had while there, they roll their eyes. When I say I read a certain book because a Smithie wrote it, they laugh. I can’t help it though. I feel pride in where I went to school and feel so lucky that this is where I ended up.

I don’t know if I completely believe in fate, but ending up as Smith is one of those life moments that I believe was simply meant to be. I’ve written before about over thinking every decision and about only making a few where I didn’t put too much thought into it. Going to Smith was one of those. I had never heard of it before I got the brochure in the mail. My total anal teenage self looked at every brochure that came in the mail and separated them into piles of yes, no and maybe. Smith ended up in the yes pile and as my parents and I planned a trip to visit colleges in the Boston area the summer before my senior year, it was one of the schools I decided to go see. It was the only school that I scheduled an interview for. To this day I don’t know why I did that, but I did.

As we walked through the campus on the tour, I fell more and more in love. Not only did I love that there was no core curriculum and that there were houses instead of dorms, but the campus was breathtaking. It was everything that I had imagined having watched tons of movies based in New England prep schools and colleges. I came back from that trip knowing that Smith was my first choice.

I still remember that first day so vividly. I remember what I was wearing. I remember how I felt as we walked into Central Check-In. And I definitely can still recall the nausea as my parents left me alone in my room.
Smith played a big role in shaping who I am today. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I was forced to meet new people. In junior high and high school, I didn’t join clubs. I didn’t want to be involved in school politics. I had my close group of friends and that was it. At Smith, I ran for positions in my house becoming one of the HONS (Head of New Students) my sophomore year and then House VP as a senior. I joined Crapapella, an amazing acapella group for those that love to sing but are tone deaf. I attribute my willingness to join new things to a sense of confidence that Smith helped build within me. When you are surrounded by so many amazing women who push themselves to excel, you push yourself as well.

So when I see the pictures of house banners being put up to welcome new students and of these young women heading to Convocation in their “costumes”, it brings me right back to how I felt while I was there. It’s a slight envy that they are about to embark on such a once in a lifetime experience. They are embarking on a new adventure and there’s nothing like that feeling as you step out to start carving your own path.

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