Discovering New Possibilities at a Wonderfully Familiar Place

Discovering New Possibilities at a Wonderfully Familiar Place
By Kate Szumanski

While the old adage, “You can never go home again,” rings with truth, we convince ourselves otherwise. We say, “Yes, I can go back home, and everything that I left will be exactly the same when I return.” Somehow our memories freeze our past experiences in standstill motion, creating nostalgic feelings that comfort us in challenging times and reassure us when the frenzied pace of life overwhelms us.

But reality quickly sets in and thaws our frozen thoughts. The neat applecart is disrupted. Situations change. People change. Things change. We change. The one constant is change. And this is how it should be.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, and in the Office of Undergraduate Students, we teach our students to be adaptable, nimble, and flexible students and professionals who embrace change and progress. While it’s tempting to reject change, it’s important to view it as a positive force, an opportunity to learn, grow, and discover in ourselves what we hadn’t already known. We want our students to explore, experience, and evolve. Heck, it’s our tagline after all.

We want our students to realize their full potential, to discover their passions and to pursue them with relentless determination. Maybe it’s through an internship. Maybe it’s through a professional development course. Maybe it’s through one of our many professional development events. Discovering who you are and what your impact can be should help define your Villanova journey.

explore.  experience.  evolve.

Changes come in many shapes, sizes, and settings. Two years ago, I left the University to pursue new opportunities with my family in central Ohio. The experience taught my husband and children valuable life lessons, and after a year in the Midwest, we decided to return to the Philadelphia area to live closer to our loved ones.

We’ve changed. We’re different. Our worldview has widened, too. And these are all great things. Have we returned home? Yes, we have, sort of. We bring all that we’ve learned and experienced to our new adventures – to a new home that’s been reshaped by who and what we’ve become. While you truly can never go home again, you certainly can return to that deeply meaningful and familiar place with new eyes, wider vision, and, we hope, bigger and better ideas.

Working with students to help them realize their full potential as educated, responsible, and socially-conscious young professionals is a wonderful experience for me. The opportunity to contribute powerfully to current students at my Alma Mater not only is incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly humbling. A Villanova education is a gift that never goes away. It will live with you forever.

I encourage students to visit the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107 often. Discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Let our office of dedicated professionals help you on your journey of discovery.

And when you graduate, your Villanova education lives on, never to be frozen in time but to forever evolve.

(Can you come home again? Sure, that’s what Homecoming is all about. Just know that campus will be different. You will be different. And that’s OK. It’s better than OK. It’s terrific.)

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

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