When I came to college, I was looking forward to meeting new people, going to classes that would help influence my career, and build relationships with professors. I didn’t want to look back. I graduated from a great high school, with a lot of friends and teachers that helped me along the way. I never planned to see some of those people again. This changed when I went home for spring break.
During my teenage years, I grew up in Dubuque, IA. When I went off to college at St. Ambrose University, my family moved to Des Moines. I was at a point in my life where I was at peace with moving on. I still had my friends from high school, and my life in college was progressing in a way that allowed me to stay at school more.
As I was home over spring break, I heard of my high school making the State Championships for basketball. I was excited to see a few of my best friends from high school, but I didn’t realize that I would be seeing a lot more people. I went into the arena only thinking about seeing my best friend. As I walked down the seating area, I was finding myself to be overwhelmed with the same people that brought me up in high school. I think it was the first time the high school’s dean hugged me, and wasn’t bothered by my “foolish” behavior of not following the dress code. I hugged all my teachers from the Religion teacher who knew me well for all the years I lived in Dubuque, to my senior year English teacher congratulating me on my “recent writing skills”…AKA these blogs. I never expected to feel this sense of joy and welcome back from all these people.
As the game was progressing, I recognized students who were still young when I graduated, and now they were the big guys on top. Sometimes time flies when you’re having time. It was a great feeling to see all these people and to be reunited back into a great community. For a while, I closed my mind off from high school because I was over it and wanted to experience new things like college and new cities. But when I came back, it felt like I never left. When that final buzzer went off, and Wahlert Catholic High School’s cheering section erupted with roaring screams from winning the game, I was unbelievably proud. I was proud of my alma mater, and all the students involved. This was one of the greatest experiences that I had because I learned that it is okay to look back on something that brought great memories. As Tupac Shakur said, “I am a reflection of the community.” As my life as grown and it seems like ages ago since I graduated, the feeling of going back to a place that was familiar and brought so much joy to my life, reminded me why I chose St. Ambrose as well. St. Ambrose offers the small community, but with a big heart. It was a great night filled with pride and a sense of a united community. I was just happy to be a part of it.