College campuses have an ambiance all their own. Whether you're on campus as a student or a visitor, or just stopping by for an event or a camp, you can feel that sense of being in a place where the future stretches out in an endless ribbon of possibility, and that the value of knowledge for its own sake is unquestioned.
Or maybe it's just me. Maybe my own experiences travel with me and re-emerge whenever I set foot on other campuses. I've talked with my elementary school students about triggers - things that can, in a moment, bring up not just a memory but all of the associations that go with it - and how they can raise positive emotions or set off a sense of unhappiness and loss.
For me, stepping on to a college campus triggers a sense of relaxation, and a boundless sense of possibility. Even when I simply go as a visitor once removed, dropping my daughter off at a sports practice or camp, I'm flooded with those feelings. I want to linger, to soak those feelings in, and to feel that sense of anything being possible all over again.
Or maybe I'm just in need of that sense these days. My writing projects are threatening to overtake everything else, and maybe, just maybe, those feelings that are triggered are a way of reframing my panic into a sense of wonder. Maybe all of these projects are possible...maybe I really can do them, one step at a time.
As I type this, I can picture my husband, the realist, smiling and shaking his head. Fortunately, my week will afford me with many more opportunities to visit college campuses and recapture that sense of a future full of possibility.
What a wonderful outlook, and what a fool I'd be to reject it.