4 women hold banner with 1993 on it

I graduated from Mary Baldwin College, a small, liberal arts women’s college in the hilly Shenandoah Valley in Staunton, VA. That school, and the experiences, education, and friends that accompanied it, shaped me in every way – for which I’ll be eternally grateful. This past weekend, I once again stood on top of the hill. Looking out and within. Any time I’m on that hill, I feel grounded to the best version of me… my feet planted, connected to the roots of the legacy of women before and after me. There is a power current there that I immediately tap into.

The visit this weekend brought additional energy, that of my 30th class reunion. Here is what I took away from the weekend…

  • EMBRACE YOUR EXPERIENCES:  At first, my 30th reunion made me feel old, but I since realized that each decade, year, and moment of growth deserved a celebration … 30 years of a life well lived deserved gratitude for a place that transformed me
  • CLING TO FOLKS WHO “GET” YOU:  Friends who fully embrace you – your talents, your short comings, your fears, your goals, your quicks – are life altering magical unicorns you should spend as much time with as possible; the laugher alone is worth it
  • OUR IMAGINATIONS ARE NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR OUR POTENTIAL: My 21-year-old self could not envision all that lay ahead, it was too big for the container I put myself in … it’s important to get friendly with being uncomfortable in order to grow, and to surround yourself with folks who think big(ger) for you and with you
  • FUNCTIONAL FITNESS EQUALS FUN:  The Mary Baldwin University campus is on a massive hill that is literally covered with steps, and being able to easily go up/down multiple times a day made sure I didn’t miss any of the fun events or show up sweaty and panting
  • SILLINESS IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL: Just do the thing. Be present and give it all a try. You’ll laugh about it either way
  • EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST: This could be my liberal arts bias coming out, but 1.5 hours in a class painting resulted in 20 unique and equally fantastic paintings, and calmer people (pick up those crayons, your inner 5-year-old will thank you)
  • GIVE BACK: From mentoring, time, or money – everyone can give to help make their community better
  • VACATION MEANS TO NOT WORK: Take the time off to play, fully offline – it’s good for your soul

Finally, I reconfirmed my belief that WOMEN’S COLLEGE ALUMNEA ARE THE BEST. We are connected by a golden thread comprised of a passion for learning, thoughtful encouragement, passionate leadership, a collaborative spirit, and the ability to inject fun into anything. 

Go Fighting Squirrels!

Reunion Reflections

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One thought on “Reunion Reflections

  1. Such inspiring insights, Emily! As someone who also attended a small liberal arts women’s college, I couldn’t agree more that we are connected by the golden thread you described. I think our learnings were also complemented with careful listening, empathy and support. A SMALL liberal arts women’s college can deliver some BIG results!

    Your takeaways are so motivating! Through my experiences in life, I found that a main way to grow is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations (for the purposes of growth, not torture). 🙂 I often repeat this mantra to myself: “Ordinary decisions – ordinary outcomes. Extraordinary decisions – extraordinary outcomes!”

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