I have made the drive between Manhattan and Washington a lot throughout my life. I know every turn I need to take, every bridge I cross, and every curve in the road between my house and my dorm. This time though, as I was driving home from my first semester at college, it was like I was driving it for the very first time. I knew that I should have been listening to my younger sister who was giving me an update on her life while riding in my passenger side seat, but I couldn’t help that my mind continued to wander while taking those curves I knew so well. During my period of reflection (and slight distraction—sorry Shai!), I asked myself if this is how my entire break was going to be? Would I see my town again for the very first time? Would I even remember anything, or had everything changed? I know I certainly am not the same person I was when I graduated, so why should Washington be the same town it was when I left?
On Monday, I went back to high school. I didn’t really have an agenda besides taking some store-bought cookies to the Ag room (you’re welcome 6th hour Agribusiness), but I ended up taking a trip down memory lane. In this case, however, the lane is my school’s hallway. I really only needed to pick something up for my mom from one of the teachers but ended up making many more stops than that. I visited with many of the teachers, said hello to a lot of the current students, and got plenty of strange looks from some people who probably didn’t know who I was. Although there was so much that I found familiar about the school in general, I came to realize it was the people who were different. Many of the people I thought of as “underclassmen” when I was a senior now occupied the roles I had. The bond between my old teachers and myself were not that of a student and teacher, but more of like old acquaintances. The entire dynamic of the people I once knew had changed. It was almost like the school had a certain glow around it. My old basketball team was playing phenomenally, my old FFA program was doing well, along with other organizations I was in. My old friends had become more of a leader than when I last saw them. The whole experience left me thinking about if I had done enough to leave an impact on the school…
As sad of a thought as it was, I knew I couldn’t, no shouldn’t, keep that mindset. I shouldn’t be feeling sad at the thought of people doing better without me. It means they have taken control of their own lives, grown into the great people I know them to be and are sharing that with their community and each other. I am happy to see this dynamic shift and will always be proud of the place I came from and the people who live there, and even if I leave, I know this place as home where it will always welcome me back with open arms and open prairies.
Scuyler Zenger Kansas FFA Secretary