The end is coming!
Posted on May 17, 2010
It is the start of Senior Week, and I am way excited. My first Thesis Parade, a visit to Rosecliff to admire your pretty outfits, and at the end of it all, Commencement! Thanks to all 98 of you who responded to my request for phonetic pronunciations of your names. It’s not too late for those of you who didn’t get around to it—just email me. I know it’s been a hectic few weeks.
I’m happy to report that we all survived Spring Weekend in reasonably good shape. I wish I could say the same for some of our facilities. I don’t really understand the need to break windows, but it seems to happen with frustrating frequency. Between the dozen or so that were broken (including windows in a couple of doors), tipped over trash cans, stolen exit signs and a few other unnecessary acts of vandalism, Wheaton spent about $2000 out of our limited maintenance budget. You know, we could do some nice things with that $2k. On a related note, kudos to Jonathan Wolinsky for his crack investigative reporting on the Gebbie Gate issue (or, as I like to call it, “Gategate”). I know that some of you think it’s fun to break it (though I’m not sure why), but yeah, $3500 or so a year. Take a look around the campus and imagine what else could be done with that money.
But in all, Spring Weekend was great fun. I especially liked the homemade ice cream, the inflatable obstacle course and My Dear Disco. Head of the Peacock was all I had been promised (go Women’s Rugby!) . Thank you, Spring Weekend planners, especially for putting in the requisition that guaranteed such nice weather. What form is that? And where do you submit it?
Thanks also to all of you who came to last week’s open meeting in the Chapel. I was impressed with the turnout and the thoughtful questions many of you asked. I also appreciated the notes many of you sent afterwards, the questions you continue to ask and the ways you want to be involved in making Wheaton a better place. It was hard, interesting, and confirmed my belief that the Wheaton community is an amazing thing to be part of, but at the moment, I’m looking forward to a bit of a summer hiatus.
I don’t know about you, but my summer hiatus will be spent reading books, digging in my garden, wandering around Spain with my husband and friends, and a quiet week at the beach on Nantucket with my best friend. It’s my first visit to both Spain and Nantucket, so if you have any hot tips, please share them. In between all of that, I’ll be here, hanging out with Dean Jack and the rest of the band, putting together our set list for the incoming class.
But right now, I don’t want to think about the incoming class. I’d rather turn my thoughts to the Class of 2010. Seniors, I hardly knew ye. We were two ships passing in the night (you, a very large cruise ship, me, a dory with a cooler full of Diet Coke and medium salsa), but I’ve really enjoyed our brief time together. Thank you for the contributions you’ve made to Wheaton thus far, and the contributions yet to come (the Advancement staff asked me to say that). Wheaton is a better place because of many of you, and I salute you, in a non-militaristic sort of way. I will leave you with two things. The first is the best advice to seniors I’ve ever heard. It came from a Wellesley alum who returned three years after her graduation to address current students about to finish up. She said, “Go out and be a citizen of the world. Live in the world. Figure out how to be part of it. Pay your bills, meet people, buy your own groceries, clean up after yourselves. Just be a citizen of the world, and the rest will follow.”
The second thing is the last few lines of a poem by Wendell Berry, “The Wild Geese.” While I hope you will go in search of amazing things, I also hope you remember that there is already plenty in your heart and head, much of it courtesy of Wheaton College. You know that old saying, “Never get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life”? Berry has a more lovely way of saying it.
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Or, more simply put by singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, “All we are we are.”
Go. Be. And keep in touch.