Yesterday I was back on UNC’s campus for the first time in a while. In some ways, it didn’t feel that different. I’ve visited several times since graduation. For three summers I worked on campus, so it didn’t seem weird to have a different (and considerably smaller) crowd in the pit at lunchtime. I’ve grown up the area, so it doesn’t hold some of the undergraduate magic for me that it has for some friends.
Yet it was the first time in a couple months, and the first time since moving back to Chapel Hill, and somehow it held fresh excitement. This is where I’ll be working this fall. Spending every day, experiencing UNC in a different way than I did as a student. I’ll meet students in the Union or Lenior, peoplewatch in the Pit, and play pickup games of Ultimate Frisbee at Fetzer Field.
The fall holds a promise: incoming students, looking to shape who they are in college somehow differently than who they were in high school. Returning students trying to figure out who they are and what they will be defined by. Isn’t that such a huge part of college: choosing what will define you? Some choose grades and GPA. Others choose dating. Community. Money. Their parents’ (or society’s) expectations. Their race, gender, sexuality.
As they navigate that decision, that’s where I want to offer them another choice: a relationship. Something bigger than what they can achieve on their own, and therefore isn’t about their performance. An invitation to meet Someone who values them outside of whatever reputation they can build, money they can make, or people who think they’re fun/cool/intelligent.
More than being back at my alma mater, that is what I’m excited about. Carolina, it’s good to be home.