Wednesday, November 30, 2011

College is for Life

I received news yesterday that the 2012 reunion at St. Matthias College in England where I did my undergraduate studies will be the last to be held at the college. Although the College closed as a teacher education institution in the late 1970s  the campus became part of the University of the West of England(UWE) where academic departments were housed and classes were held. Now, UWE  has decided to close the campus next summer. This raises the real possibility that the beautiful old buildings with all their ghosts and memories may well be razed to make room for housing, offices or worst of all, perhaps a shopping mall. 

On several of my trips back to the "auld sod" I have visted the college and strolled the hallowed hallways and pretended to play croquet on the lawn or field hockey on the sports field, or even listen to my favorite lecturer in one of the lecture rooms. It always seemed so permanent, one of life's anchors that would always be there. There is always something undemanding and unconditional about the role physical structures play in our life voyages. It's almost impossible to imagine it not being there. 

On the other hand, the personal connections one makes at college can change with the times, are much more maleable and flexible, and, perhaps, a lot more valuable in the long run. My memories of my college-friends live on through Facebook contacts and a wonderful web-site, Old Lags,  run by Ade George, one of my good college friends. It's been one of life's treasures to watch the lives of one's friends unfold from afar. Some have stayed close to home and others, like me, have flown far to new worlds and cultures in which they have made their homes and lived out their lives.  

Our college days are to be treasured for what they are but they can also be seen as the acorns to the oak trees of our lives and nurtured and valued over a lifetime through both their physical structures and the wonderful friendships we made.  

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