We know how to say thank you. In fact, for many people the courtesy of giving thanks was ingrained in them since childhood, but we are not generally taught to thank a place. I suppose the logic is that a place cannot understand or comprehend us. A place or a room has no knowledge of its true significance in peoples’ lives. Still, places are formative parts of our lives and I am determined that before the summer end I will have divined a way to thank Carleton for what it has done for me. As I approach my fourth year with a touch of foreboding, a dash of relief, and an overwhelming sense of adventure I am reminded once again of when I first set foot on the third floor of Paterson Hall.
I was a freshman in high school when I first attended an information session about the College of Humanities. I was green and new, much in the same way I was when I entered the Humanities program four years later as a first year university student. Throughout the years not much has changed on the third floor of Paterson. I remember my first visit to the discussion room. I saw a book, one of many, on the bookshelves there, but that one stood out to me. I recognized the author, his name prominent on the spine, Heinrich Heine. So many names I did not know overwhelmed me, but that one stuck out and calmed me. Seeing that book, I knew that I could find a place for myself in Paterson Hall, in the Humanities program.
Four years later and I am still figuring out where I fit in the larger narrative, but if there is one thing Humanities has taught me it’s that the journey is even more important than the destination. I know that once graduation is closer I will be anxious – worrying about the future has the tendency to do that – but what I will remember the most are the moments that led me to graduation. The late nights writing papers in the lounge, the music nights in the lecture hall, and the lively debates that often left us laughing as well as enlightened, which took place in the discussion room between classes.
To come full circle, how can I thank these places for figuring so heavily in my life? I’m not sure yet, but I think that spending as much time in my favourite places might send some love their way. I look forward to September when I will be reunited with my friends and our favourite places on campus. However, I do not wish for the end of summer just yet, after all there is still so much to do. There are days of sunshine left to enjoy, late nights under the stars to cherish, and I still have to figure out how to say goodbye to the place that has been my home for the past four years.