Fading ties with my Smith experience

Rosalie Toupin ’20 | Contributing Writer

I have been away from Smith for nine months now. At first, it was hard to watch everything go on without me. I constantly checked my house’s Facebook group, watched my friends’ Instagram stories and tried to keep up with all the little things going on around campus. Of course, that kind of obsessive behavior isn’t sustainable, so slowly but surely, I let my Smith life fade and adapted to my new surroundings. Now, I’m starting a semester at a completely different university halfway across the world, and I’m scared by how diminished my connection with Smith has become.

While I was on campus, I was heavily involved in the Smith community: SGA Secretary, varsity athlete, member of the Smiffenpoofs, Wurtele Fellow — you name it and odds are, I tried it or at least knew about it. I cared about the smallest things, like the driving paths on campus and the nearly undrinkable dining hall coffee (a fight I plan to continue senior year). But now, I don’t even remember Rally Day! I’m not well versed in major campus issues anymore. The problems that seemed so big while I was on campus now barely cross my mind.

I know the passage of time plays a role in most aspects of life, but for some reason, it feels more significant with Smith. I don’t want my new experiences and perspectives to push my passion for Smith and its community to the sidelines. It helps that I’ll be back in just a few months, and knowing myself, I’ll probably dive right back into the Smith bubble. But until then, I feel like my ties to the community are loosening more and more each day.

I guess this is what post-grad must feel like — your connection to college slowly shrinking until all that’s left fits into succinct, little memories. The one good thing about my dimming memories is that all of the little, petty moments have faded away, leaving behind only the significant and meaningful experiences, like bonding with my acapella group during Winter Weekend or breaking down under the pressure of my first year in an empty Seelye Hall. It’s unsettling to feel such a big part of your life fade into the past, but at the same time, it’s comforting to have these important experiences solidified in your memory.

I know I’ll never lose Smith and that the education, friendships and memories I make will last, but it’s tough getting this sneak peek into what life after Smith will look like. I miss being engrossed in my college community and feeling like everything I needed was within a two-mile radius. Hopefully, when I return to campus this coming fall, I’ll be better at distinguishing the important moments that will stay with me beyond Smith from those that really aren’t worth the stress. Not often do you get to step away to see the big picture and then return to the smaller present. I have a feeling that once I’m back in the thick of it, I’ll lose most of this larger perspective. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll retain enough to remind myself in those stressful, busy college days that come May 2020 and beyond, I’m going to wish that I’m right back on Chapin Lawn, laughing with my friends as we live out our limited days in the strange yet wonderful haven of Smith College.

Sophian Smith