Webster’s definition of home: one’s place of residence, an environment offering security and happiness, harmony with one’s surroundings.
For Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, “Home is wherever I’m with you.”
Let’s go with the second. It’s more comfortable, more personal. The feeling of home lives in relationships, inside jokes, hugs, laughter fits, walks in the dark, and pictures on peaks. Home, not merely a bed and bowl, creeps up on you until every person and place you see will recall a memory instead of mystery. In this sense, the ideas of home and community are irrevocable. Every day we get up and put our feet on the same ground. We create a percussion of steps, breaths and voices. With the aid of closeness and time, a community grows. There’s no stopping it.
College simulates this process at hyper speed. Four years, that’s about all you got. For all you freshmen and sophomores this may still seem like a long time, but trust it is not. It’s a blink. We live in a community with deadlines. When we signed up for this we bought a return ticket. It’s not the way real life works, but we all must deal with it.
For those leaving, attempting to disconnect may be your first impulse, to cut the ties and separate so the inevitable break will be less painful. You might think and say things like; Sergis is nasty and unhealthy, Thacker never taught me anything worth anything, and we were not that good of friends anyway.
Seniors, try not to do that. Indeed, home fades again, receding in the rear view mirror, but don’t give in to fear and frustration. Letting go of friendships, smashing bottles and ramming holes in the wall, not giving a f*#k, it’s easy, but not right.
It’s not fair, being ripped from a place you have fallen in love with, from a community which has not only offered you security and happiness for four years, but also knowledge, mentors, friends, lovers and purpose. So instead of distancing, like you did with that boyfriend or girlfriend in high school, the one you learned to kiss with, the one you don’t talk to anymore, just get out there and experience. Relive some of those cherished memories, make new ones. We might have at least one sunny day before it is all over.
Share your story and your plans for the future with someone new. Get a pizza. Send your favorite professor a note of gratitude. Enjoy it before you’re forced to leave it behind. The people who leave SLU a better place than they found it will always be welcome to return. By showing respect and leaving positive, lasting impressions you will be part of the community even in your absence.
To FYPs, to long car rides, to fall and spring, to girls and guys, to inspiration, to finding you, to motivation, to senior blues, to changing ourselves from year to year, to reading books and chugging beer, to the test, the paper, the lab report, to pushing harder even though it hurts, to finding fear and exultation, to making it all the way to graduation, to the roar of the river, to the blast of the train, to the winter flakes and April rain, to a community of young and old, to sleeping out in the bitter cold, to friends, acquaintances, and one night stands, may we all someday have a plan, to uncovering the courage to learn and to grow, to the Scarlett and Brown, to the place we call home, to seniors, Cheers! Find your place in the world. It’s messed up, needs help and a lot of work. St. Lawrence can no longer be your place to hide. Get out there. Make change. It’s hammer time.