June 13, 2024

We came to Wittenberg to learn and to grow. Maybe we lost sight of that goal somewhere along the way, when the shiny cold cans of Natty Light were brand new to us, and the feeling of wet grass beneath our bare feet in the hollow at 2 a.m. was the greatest feeling we had ever experienced. It was that of freedom. It was that of experience. It was the control we had over our own days and nights. Our own futures.

But four years later, Natty is no longer new to us, and streaking the Hollow is more of a happy way to reconnect with our past selves than an exhilarating first. Therefore, we must remember the goal. We came to Wittenberg to learn and to grow, and that’s exactly what we did. I think my words have spent enough time on these pages to teach me that a few meaningful words always have more impact than a thousand empty ones. So, I’ll tell one story that reflects the education I’ve received at Wittenberg.

Last finals week, I sat in a classroom full of women who had all taken an honors seminar with me that semester. It was our last time meeting as a class, and we used it to reflect on what that semester had meant to us. We had spent the semester learning from a professor who challenged us, not only to learn more than we thought possible, but to dig deep into ourselves, to make connections between the stories we read and the stories we lived, and to share those connections with our classmates. We had spent the semester in a classroom that turned into a community. We learned about literature, history, monsters and men. But most importantly, we learned about ourselves, each other, how to deal with the world around us and how to try to make the world a better place.

To me, that is what the Wittenberg experience is about. It is so much more than stumbling home with a Paddy’s pizza every Saturday night, being asked to the right formals or joining the right societies. It’s about the knowledge that the person you are when you stomp that seal is a very different one than the one who avoided it in all your years at Wittenberg. It’s about accepting your diploma knowing that your Wittenberg education has changed you in all the best ways. Most importantly, it’s about continuing to pass your light, knowing the journey is never over.


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