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An Ode to Parking Lots – Rachel Heuchert

At the beginning of this semester, I felt a bit shell-shocked about how much has changed since my first semester on this campus: from a freshman with a hesitantly decided major, to a graduate student with the opportunity to teach college courses. Reflecting on these changes, I wrote up an ode of thankfulness on the first day of school:

Car after car heads into the Reiland parking lot, the very first parking lot after the stoic college entrance. Some cars have been here before so they know right where to go; they confidently slide up to the proud building that rests above the city. Other cars experience a frantic rein pulling as the car’s occupants debate whether this is the right building or if they should go on to the next one. Other cars who are only slightly more experienced, smirk as they see the parking lot, surely remembering the frantic rein pulling of an earlier visit. The cars’ occupants pull themselves out and gaze up at the ornamental brick curtains that showcase grand windows. For some occupants, the drive was shorter than making a midnight run to Wal-Mart, for others the trip was one in which they thought they might never make it to this destination, and for others they were pulling into a space they had never seen before but only caught glimpses from through phone calls from recruiters and clicking through a web page.

Some cars are laden with baggage, so much so that they need additional space hauled with them to accommodate everything. Some cars had to join caravans to fit everything. Other cars held two passengers and so much stuff that the occupants could never find the snacks without attempting gymnastics. Still others come with only a suitcase from an airport and a wallet bearing a credit card eager to fill the void. All day the cycle goes – cars pulling in, people getting out, and stuff filling the small voids that make a freshmen dorm room.

Seeing this process is humbling. It reminds me of the day my mother dropped me off. I am thankful that I am blessed to have a family who provided, loved, blessed, and treasured me for the first two decades of my life. I am thankful for the stuff and baggage that I am fortunate enough to have in my possession. All the stuff that we tote and haul around means nothing compared to the people that help gather and transport the stuff. For me, that person was my mother. I am thankful for the person my mother is, as well as all the opportunities that she sacrificed so that I may have them. It is hard to believe that four years ago, I was pulling into the Reiland parking lot ready to start a major I wasn’t sure about and now I am sitting in a beautiful office that overlooks the view of parents dropping off their children. Reflecting on these changes is humbling and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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Posted:December 2, 2016

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