The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Openingnotes Section Title
Beth English Photo

This weekend was beautifully, gloriously warm. The first true sign that spring might actually reemerge after an unusually snowy winter. As I sat outside chatting with neighbors, watching the kids kick a soccer ball or draw with sidewalk chalk, I felt deeply peaceful. And that phrase — the more things change, the more they stay the same — started ringing through my head.

The first time I ran across that phrase was high school English, Mrs. Miller's class, reading “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles. My literal-minded teenaged self wondered, “How is it possible for things to change and yet remain the same?” I just didn't get it.

Twenty years later, I now have an answer.

In the flux of all the change in our lives, we have anchors. No matter what kind of milestones are ahead or behind, you can always count on the basics. I know that every year after the cool, frosty days of winter are spent, spring will come. Birds begin twittering in the trees, daffodils raise their yellow heads and tiny leaf buds start dotting once-bare branches. No matter how dark the winter has been, you can count on the days growing steadily longer until the daylight hours stretch from first rising until deep evening. And with that comes the stirring of renewal.

I can count on various family traditions. No matter how old I am, I will always love the pageantry of Halloween, of dressing up and being a part of a community of neighbors. The giggling on the street as children race to one house after another and exclaim over their candy stash. And I devoutly hope there will be many more years of Thanksgiving turkey and my mom's yeast rolls.

I love the cycle of our days that brings us around to the same beginnings and endings year after year. University life is a bit like that too. No matter what, there will always be a first day of class, those moments of excited expectation or fearful dread. Commencement, the bookend, will come too, with its moments of euphoria.

Groups on campus also have their traditions, and I suspect if you visit them, you'll find things that you remember, much like Jacqueline Kayler DeBrew ‘ 91 found when she attended an alumnae tea at her sorority. Yes, campus has changed through the years. New buildings have replaced old, and areas that once were streets are now walkways. Students today probably look different too. But I think, if you look in their hearts, you'll find the same hopes, dreams and fears you once had.

After all, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Beth English '07 MALS, Editor
beth_english@uncg.edu

Some things may stay the same, but sometimes you have to embrace change. Due to budget constraints, our summer issue of UNCG Magazine will be found only online. Look for it in late July. The print issue should return in the fall.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Location: 1000 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, NC 27403
Mailing Address: PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
Telephone: 336.334.5000
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Last updated: Tuesday, 04 October 2011
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