This morning, a young lady who I presume to be a member of the class of 2016 spoke to me while I was rushing to a meeting in Dalton. “Excuse me,” she said, gesturing to Pem East “Is this Thomas Great Hall?” I pointed her in the right direction and sent her on her way, but I wanted to tell her that “Thomas Great Hall” may just be a meaningless phrase to her now, it may refer to a space she doesn’t feel confident finding now, but over the next four years it will gain great meaning. The phrase “Thomas Great Hall” will become familiar to her mouth, soft and easy to say instead of a new, strange shape, used often enough that she’ll abbreviate the name. She’ll go there countless times seeking Athena’s blessing, attend lectures and events that enrich her life, and Thomas Great Hall will become a part of her daily routine.
That experience was one of many that happened during my first few days back at the Mawr this year. I arrived the day before the bulk of the class of 2016 was scheduled to arrive, so I watched all the incoming frosh pour in to campus. The frosh who I was particularly excited to meet, of course, were those who were the customs babies of my customs babies– my customs grandchildren, so to speak. I was so excited to meet my 50+ grandkids, but also a little apprehensive. The fact that my customs babies, who I thought or hoped would never grow up, were raising customs babies of their own reminded me that I am getting older and that (heaven forbid) I may one day have to graduate. Last week, a flood of adorable, wide-eyed, memento moris came through, reminding me that my time at Bryn Mawr is limited, which is something that I hate thinking about.
That’s dark, of course, but accepting change is an important and challenging part of life. I am a junior now, which is scary, but that also means that I know the ropes around campus, that I get to take classes that are exactly what I’m interested in, that I know who my friends are, and that I will totally get to sit back and relax during Hell Week (sidebar: I had no idea how much fun/hard work it is to hell someone! Wow!)
So as I gather flower petals/glitter/confetti/candy to sprinkle upon the sweet, wonderful, overwhelmingly welcome class of 2016, I do so with a little bit of sadness and nostalgia in my heart, but mostly excited for my future as a Mawrter and excited to watch this new crop develop.
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