What Coming Back to Clark Will Mean
One of the odd things about living in the 21st century is how difficult it is to really leave somewhere. When I wrote my first post for Clark Diaries, for example, I think I imagined that leaving home would be a clean break from the past – that I would go to college and, well, that would be it. A separation. But there’s this tricky little thing called Facebook, and as consequence the stages of your life, which in a previous generation might be neatly delineated, become muddled together in a web of status updates, event notifications, and the ever-present “likes”. There’s a pleasure in that, sure – a joy in sharing life’s moments with others – but just as our new interconnectivity makes it hard to really leave a place, it makes it that much harder to fully enter whatever new world you’re living in.
It also makes it strange to come back. As I’ve been living a new life in London, I’ve watched my newsfeed transform, at times overnight, with stories of renovation on campus (just as I was arriving) midterms (just as I was arriving), the election (all the time) and, just this week, Clark’s first snowfall. As I’m living my life, Clark is living its own, and I’m watching through a foggy window. It’s as if I’m hearing about an old friend’s new life only through stories accidentally overheard.
It’s not as if I’m going to lack things to do when I return. When I come back to Clark, I’m going to be writing my thesis. I’m going to be working – hopefully – for RLH again. I’ll be applying for jobs in DC. I’ll be spending time with my wonderful Clark friends. (Who’ve been doing amazing things since I’ve been gone, by the way. You should all check out Mike Tierney ’13 and Joel Helander ’15′s new jazz album, In Submission. It’s fantastic.)
Most importantly, though, I’m going to be coming back to Clark with fifteen more months of experience under my belt – fifteen months in which I worked full-time for Tenth Dems, lived full-time in a world capital, and then, in my summer at home, travelled around our amazing country with my brother (that’s a story for another, future, day). I can’t imagine how much I’ll be changed then from who I am now, or how much I’m already changed from who I was when I left Clark.
And that’ll give me something to give back. I am still so grateful that I chose Clark, and that Clark chose me. More than any place I’ve been in my life – yes, including the LSE – Clark has given me an opportunity to make the best of myself. I took that chance and ran with it, and it’s worked out for me. Sure, it may not work out that way for everyone. But I’m confident that everyone will get their chance to try. So coming back to Clark will mean that, in my Senior year, I’ll have a chance to give back something of myself to an institution that has given me so much of a chance. And that’ll mean a great deal to me.