July 19, 2011

I Believe in the Power of a Memory

Posted in School tagged , , , at 11:39 pm by Katie

As part of the University 101 class I am co-teaching in the fall, students will read the book This I Believe II and write their own This I Believe essays. The concept is simple. Short essays of 500ish words on a core value of a person’s life. The project held a place on NPR for years, and you can learn more about it here: This I Believe

As my co-instructor and I have worked on our syllabus, I’ve had many thoughts on what my essay would look like. I absolutely planned on writing one right along with the students and honestly figured I’d probably write several. But as I was lying in bed tonight, waiting for sleep to come, a single sentence came to me.

I believe in the power of a memory.

So, being too tired and lazy to grab my laptop, I typed it all into a note on my iPhone. My brain didn’t want it to sit until morning, so I spilled it all out. And because I’ve done a horrible job of blogging lately, I figured I would post it here as well. Here goes nothin’:

I believe in the power of a memory.

Five girls piled into one room. Mattresses, pillows, and blankets litter the floor. Token junk food containers dot the scene, the remnants of a freshman year.

Five girls spend that night together, in a room designed for two. Boxes packed, walls bare, but within those white cinderblock walls are the memories of the 12th floor. They hold endless nights of laughter, the tears of college relationships gone awry, and the many silly photographs taken together. They hold a year’s worth of growth, learning, and love.

Tomorrow, after one last shared meal, they will pile into separate cars and head separate ways. They promise to talk and text and Facebook often. They count down the days until they return as sophomores, no longer the new kids on the block.

Five years later, with the added clarity of hindsight, it’s obvious that night didn’t just mark the end of a year. It marked the end of a friendship as they knew it. Those girls grew up, grew into themselves. They changed their activities, their friendship circles, and even their beliefs. They moved away from the bubble of their college life and dispersed throughout the Southeast.

But in the power of that memory, I can take myself back to my place in that room, perched on that mattress on the floor, watching a movie and talking late into the night. I can lose myself in the love that surrounded that room, wrap myself in it when I need a reminder of a simpler time. We may not all be together now; we may not even all speak frequently or at all, but one thing remains the same. In my heart, as the lyrics go, it’s still the five of us.

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