Nostalgic Post I – Mather House 2010

Posted: June 3, 2011 in Food for Thought
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via SP

Dear Mather 2010,

Commencement is afoot here at fair Harvard, and the Cambridge spring morning is as crisp and lovely as it’s ever been. From my perch here in our glorious tower, I can see so much beauty: rowers on the Charles, the sun’s glimmer on the water, the gentle breeze rattling the trees. It’s all so lovely.

But all I can think of at this moment is how full my heart was exactly one year ago at this time as we walked the path from 10 Cowperthwaite one last time together. It was the moment that every Housing Day march had been a rehearsal for, one last time for us to come together as a house and celebrate the great memories we shared and the greater promise we held.

A year has passed since then, and doubtless we’ve all left for new lives in new places. We’re teaching in tough schools, or we’re toiling in the boardroom, or we’re stretching ourselves in graduate school, or we’re risking everything on a start-up, or we’re doing any of the other million billion things a person can do after leaving this place. We’ve moved on to bigger and better things. As well we should.

But for one brief moment, let me call you back from the bright future (or, more likely, ceaseless gruntwork) that awaits you for a reminder: Wherever you came from before and wherever you are now and wherever you’ll go in the future, you spent some of your best years in the finest house of the finest university in the galaxy. And that is something to be thankful for.

Let me pass on one more reminder, as well. Mather House will always be here; nuclear-holocaust-proof, brutalist 1970s architecture has assured us of this much. But lest you think that friendships are made of the same stuff as our sweet, gray fortress, beware: Most relationships, even those forged amidst and in and by the impenetrable stuff of this place, need a bit more maintenance than concrete. Most friendships are more porous and slightly less unshakable, though they do smell better on Saturday mornings than the low-rise.

So take a moment one year out from graduation to rekindle a friendship that, over the past year in your new life, you’ve neglected a little bit. (Bonus points if it’s me.) Send an email or make a call or tweet a tweet or linkedin a linkedin. But reach out to the people you care about — especially if those people are in Mather 2010 — so that in two years and five years and ten years and 25 years, your friendships will still look like the House that nurtured them: rugged, soaring monuments to love and the power of community.

Yours in fun, friendship and that most powerful affection of all — Mather Love —


(your 2010 class committee rep)

I find this email to be so perfectly timed, and a nice form of treatment for my post-graduation angst re: making new friends, moving on from college, adjusting to the work world, etc. It’s just so perfect. Also, you can substitute any community in lieu of Mather and this email really should make you emotional.

  1. anon says:

    read this right in the middle of 2011 commencement. so perfect.

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