Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Falling for Fall

Falling for Fall It's as if my body knows it's the Fall of the year. I naturally begin to crave a slower pace of life, and familiar routines that begin in September. While I am five years removed from my alma mater, the University that's known for giving graduates the "Degree that Makes a Difference," I crave the college life. Well, not the exams and writing papers part. But, it's as if I secretly envy students who get to press the "re-start" button, or "new start" button as they begin or continue their college journey. Which is why I always seem to find my way back to campus during the beginning of the Fall term. Recently I returned to campus to sit on what feels like my 1 millionth panel as an alum, and I can honestly say that sharing my story and experiences never gets old and it's never a burden (even when it means coming on a Friday-yes, Friday- evening). I view it as an opportunity to give back and connect with those that will soon join me as part of the Maize and Blue alumni family. The weekend was the only thing that separated my visit to campus again as I returned on a Monday afternoon for a meeting. I'm laughing to myself as I think about how I became one of the "Strollers" on campus that Monday afternoon. When I was a student, I could tell who were students too. We had a certain look on our face and in our eyes that we maintained as we walked to class. We had a certain strut or stride in our walk. We definitely didn't stroll across campus because we knew we had somewhere we needed to be. Well, as I mentioned, I became a Stroller. But, I couldn't help it! I strolled though the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters; after all, that building was where I took majority of my classes. That college is synonymous with my college education. That college (which has the acronym CASL, pronounced like castle) is where my parents would pick me up from when I first started as a student and they would say "How fitting that our Princess is taking classes in CASL." Princess, Castle/CASL, get it? I digress. CASL was also where I taught for a Summer program about three years after I graduated. I could go on and on about the memories. While in CASL, I found myself looking at the offered courses, new and old. I looked at the names of the professors, some I knew, some I didn't know, some who taught me. I couldn't help but notice that some Professor's names were missing, in particular Dr. Rahman, who passed last September, and taught many of the African and African American Studies courses. The lack of his presence on the campus still lingers, and I doubt it will ever dissipate. The stroll around CASL reminded me of the struggles to pass my math course, and my triumphs in my composition, communication, and psychology courses. It was also in CASL that I declared African and African American Studies as my 2nd minor. It has since become a Major on campus. But most importantly, my stroll reminded me of tranquility. That somehow no matter how chaotic things became during my college years, my first years as an alum, or even things in my personal life, I've always weathered the storm. Surprisingly, Fall is not my favorite season, primarily because it signifies the end of Summer. Instead, Fall (especially Fall at my alma mater) signifies new beginnings and it does its job reminding me to slow down, be tranquil, and prevail despite all odds. Regards, Leah Johnson | ltaishaj@att.net