Reflections from the Cohort of 2018

College is an interesting phenomenon. Most people who attend college spend roughly 18 years
of their lives in some place building relationships, forming themselves, developing roots, and
then all of a sudden spend the next four years of their lives in an entirely new, unfamiliar place,
with new, unfamiliar people. I suppose at a small school like Eastern, fewer students have
relocated across the country to be there. I know while I may have come from Arizona, most of
my friends lived somewhere in few hours’ drive from Eastern. However, I expect the effect is
similar whether home is a drive or a flight away: either way, home is not quite the same place it
was four years ago when we left.
In Senior capstone, we start to talk through what exactly it means to start living “the ordinary
life,” or whatever life we live after being students for so long. Tim Wortham, an Alumni
administrator at Eastern, said at commencement rehearsal that there are many different students
that graduate. Some students found their time at Eastern incredibly valuable and enriching,
whereas others perhaps found little value and merely endured their college years. I know that all
of this also holds true for graduates of the Honors College. Some of us found it a powerfully
enriching and life-changing experience, while others found it tedious and perhaps struggled to
find it meaningful. I would guess that most of the cohort falls somewhere in between. As
someone who falls more in the first camp of people, and if left to my own devices would try and
stay in college learning forever, I hear Dr. Williams from Capstone reminding me that part of the
telos of education is service, and we have a responsibility to use our education to serve whatever
community we go to next. I suppose whether we like it or not, and regardless of our experience
with Templeton, all of us must leave college and go home.
When I say “go home,” I don’t necessarily mean to the place or people we grew up with. While
many of us (about half, it turns out) are indeed living at home after graduation, the other half are
not, presumably starting to make a new home somewhere else. Even for those of us who are
returning home, we will likely find that home is not the same place we left it (and that we are not
the same since we left home). Regardless, all of us will have to adjust from the student life to the
“ordinary life,” wherever we end up. As for what exactly we all will be doing, the most common
responses were teaching (some in a classroom and some in less academic settings, like in a dance
or music studios) and further education (some in more typical masters/PhD programs, others in
things like seminary or trade-school type places). Most not doing these things are digging into
some sort of career, or raising money for whatever their next step might be.
To everyone in our cohort, from those who just graduated, those who graduated early, those that
might have a little more to go, and even those who had to leave us the past four years: thank you.
Thank you for supporting me, supporting each other, and good luck wherever and whenever you
go out into the world.