Coming Home To College Reflections

“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts” (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

I’ve always embraced the stimulating “buzz” of community ideals existing in the college experience. For this reason, I have often considered such youth vibrant institutions as a “second home” option for extended stay visits. I can reminisce then with great satisfaction about my early adulthood years as a Masters Degree student, dutifully walking to and from the campus library every day to join so many others in diligent pursuit of academic excellence. I also recall how good it felt to be part of a university community as a tenured professor where students/faculty cared deeply about academic learning.

In a similar fashion, I realize that my early retirement from teaching frees up my time to find new ways of exploring the magnetic attractions of the college collegial experience. Witness my spirited discussions with fellow alumni from the University of South Florida Alumni Club each fall as we recapture the campus energy of cheering on our hometown team during college football live broadcasts. Or picture a lazy summer Sunday in Fort Lauderdale when I often feverishly scan the local newspapers for university offerings of cultural/musical interest for the week ahead.

From a traveling perspective, such nostalgic college memories provide similar homebound longings during our long, road trip separations from family/friends each spring. Consider a centralized open space on campus, for instance, as an ideal spot for this traveler’s peaceful solitude with my wife, Ruth from the daily rigors of the road. Or embrace the familiar “air” of youthful intellectual energy from those nostalgic walks around campus amidst stately centers of learning proudly standing from the historic past. You might reason as well how a student union facility on campus functions as an ideal place for us to settle into a college community presence so far from home. With such feelings of finding the spirit of home in academia firmly in mind , I present a photographic display of favorite college images from our recent travels.

The picturesque “green” of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi provided a restful picnic stop to enjoy informal family moments typically shared at home.

Surveying several Confederate Soldier era monuments from the Civil War along the main campus “green”, I realized that these legendary heroes of the defeated Rebel forces had found an honorable home in this ” Old South” setting at the “Ole Miss” campus.

The distinguished statue presence of Civil Rights hero James Meredith at “0le Miss.”also reminded me that a university provides a home for those who foster equal opportunity for bettering oneself for all races, creeds, and colors.

The modern campus of California Polytechnic University inconspicuously lies along the remote coastal ridge near San Luis Obispo, California. Yet a series of Buddhistic offerings at the bustling Student Center provided a much needed home for student gatherings to experience “spiritual enlightenment” on campus.

The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library at the University of Texas main campus in Austin functions as an impressive landmark documenting the extraordinary political legacy of LBJ. In my tour of this museum, I felt a warm human presence of being welcomed behind the scenes into his Presidential world and Texas home.

A strong tradition of home field, winning college football unites Vols fans at Neyland Stadium on the main campus of the University Of Tennessee in Knoxville. I similarly felt this show of “Vols Fever” in my brief tour of this campus.

Being linked efficiently with convenient pedestrian bridges to the center of downtown Knoxville, the Univ. Of Tenn. also serves as an accessible home of academic learning offerings for the surrounding Knoxville community .

After our long trek across the vast Great Plains prairie on our last road trip, a short visit to Colorado State University in Fort Collins provided a first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. We now realized that a much needed oasis for us resided nearby in a cool and quiet home stay for mountainous inner reflection.

In a brief tour of the University of Illinois in college town Champaign, historic murals at the student union provided vivid evidence that this building served as as a popular home hub of unified student gatherings for both fun and serious academic study.

As we traversed the main campus of the University of Washington, in Seattle on foot , we witnessed the blossoming freshness of a new spring arrival. It seemed then that each plant “screamed” to us of the critical need to preserve the surrounding natural beauty of our “Mother Earth” home.

Returning to my undergraduate roots of academic success at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I fondly recalled the freedom of living on campus away from my home for the first time.By fostering a strong self sufficient outlook on my own then, I had learned to make future use of this quality later in life to strongly pursue independent strategies for travel.

 

10 thoughts on “Coming Home To College Reflections

  1. Beautiful post, James. Your comment, “I’ve always embraced the stimulating “buzz” of community ideals existing in the college experience,” reminded me of my own ideals as a university undergraduate of doing my part as a high school teacher to make our young nation of Guyana a better place for all Guyanese.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though my college experience lasted only 2 years, I loved every moment of it. During the time I attended, the college was a two-year girl’s college and has since become a university. I was perusing their website just recently and the campus is as beautiful as ever. The old buildings are still there which added much to its charm. https://www.williamwoods.edu/

    Liked by 1 person

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