And yet.

“At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I’ve hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”

It is summer, what a joyful phrase. And a sad one. Jumping from mandatory course work to swimming in my girlfriend’s pool and playing video games is a transition I can make. Plucking myself from the Erskine Community is always harder. Unpacking is a thousand times harder than packing, and then I have to make that room home again. I put up the posters that had hung in Pressly, set up my DVDs, my white boards, my picture frames and college memories, make room for a nine-month different Eric Goodwin. Putting your friends aside is even harder – the fact that they are up to two hours away makes the chilling we became so used to difficult. No trips to Watkins to hang out at 5 Fieldstone Place, Greenville, South Carolina.

I start work at Chick-fil-A next week – it’ll be the start of my fourth summer there. I take pride in my work even when I find myself bored of it and the notorious CFA drama. That’s a thing: Erskine is so small the drama seems to build and build, it’s good for each May that bubble to pop and everyone find lives and people outside of Due West. Then we’ll remember how much we miss the people and we’ll return in September to start again. But. Today it’s the day before June and This is summer.

I have been working on Euphemian committee plans for next year, transcribing pdf files of century and a half old commencements addresses, tentatively researching for my junior history thesis in the Spring, and remembering how quiet home is. Home is for the self, College is for the community. At least Erskine is – for better and for worse. Summer is as full and fulfilling as you make it. I plan to make mine fulfilling. I have a stack of books to read, internships to apply to, money to make, research to compile, a journal to return to, a girlfriend to love, a refocusing of priorities and ideals.

Two years left of college and I’m scared out of my mind. Two years left of college and I can’t wait for my future. I’m switching from law to history – I’m looking at a PhD at UVA. Who knows, though, I can still change my mind – that’s the grace of a liberal arts education. If I had gone to a college and decided to do “pre-law” I would be stuck. Did you know Erskine, when she was founded, only offered one course of study? I was looking at the course catalogue from 1841 and it’s insane. I don’t think we would be able to handle the courses now.

This is my last post for my sophomore year of college. If I write here next year I want to write more often, to capture the moods as they come. I wish I had written right after Dr. Norman’s Inauguration. Dr. Norman is the future of this institution – some people haven’t understood that yet – and though he’s just 35 he has the dynamism and vision to make Erskine whatever he wants. Do you want to come to an Authentically Christian, Liberal Arts Community? That’s your choice, but I thank God for allowing me to come here and grow with such mentors and friends.

I just finished my first book of the summer – it’s called The History of Love. I bought it last year as romance novel, a book to fill a pierced heart. But that’s another story for another day. Today I finished it.

“At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I’ve hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”

Everything we do is trying to show others that we are alive. We take pictures of a beautiful Alaskan landscape not to record its beauty but to record our existence at some place – some time. We write status updates on Facebook to show others how alive we are. We fill pages and pages, digital and Moleskine, with testaments to our existence and bombastic portrayals of our life. And we hope that you will look at us and see life. We’re so scared of being swallowed up flood of six billion people. All we want is to be heard in this life, I think that’s what every action comes down to. We want someone – sometimes a very special someone – to look at us for one moment. To acknowledge our existence.

You remember Chris McCandless? I fell in love with him at the beginning of this year and blogged his Messianic truths as the star of my life. I was reading the other day how his backpack was found with his Social Security card and $300. He never intended to die out there in the Alaskan wilderness. He just wanted to be heard.

I look back on my year and see how much I tried to be heard. It was a bad year, it was a good year, it was a year I never want to repeat. It was one of those Erskine years I’ll cherish and laugh at forever. I have a headache and I miss the showers of Pressly where I could bathe it that showerhead’s amazing water-pressure, and I miss Jacob and Ross bursting into the shower, half-naked, for a shower party, and I miss Erskine. It’ll be a long summer, a needed summer, but I’m ready to get back home. And yet.

“What if I were smiling and running into your arms? Would you see then what I see now?” – Chris McCandless, Into the Wild