With only a month separating me from graduation, I still spend many moments wondering about all that this place and this community meant to me. I wonder how it changed me and how it will continue to change me. I speculate about a different draft of myself—one who never stumbled upon the Nobles ecosystem. But no clear or easy explanation of the influence that Nobles had on me ever settles in my mind. Instead, in reviewing it all, I see a string of images.
Some of these glimpses date back to my first years here. I remember a teacher excusing some friends and me from a last period study hall on a Friday of my sixie year. We skipped out of Towles Auditorium and raced to the top of The Rock outside the middle school. Fooled by the curtain of pine branches that hid the rest of the campus from us, we took no measures to mute our laughing, rising voices. We lay among pools of pine needles gathered in the crevices and corners of the rock and took turns swinging on the frayed length of rope that dangled from one branch.
Tiptoeing through that memory revives so many other images. I picture myself sitting in a teacher’s office as a freshman to talk about a paper—some clumsy attempt to analyze The Catcher in the Rye. As our discussion of my essay tapered, we fell into conversation. Half-listening, half-thinking, I peered through the scratched windowpane at the sunlit heaps of snow on the roofs and terraces below us, loving the snow and the afternoon light, but mostly just loving that moment.
Some images are so recent that they’ve hardly had a chance to settle. I envision gathering as a senior class on The Beach on the last day of school, arranging ourselves in a circle, dancing and shouting and singing. We were celebrating, but maybe we were also huddling close and comforting each other, because we knew that The Beach, like the school, would only belong to us for a few minutes longer.
Looking back on my time at Nobles feels like reviewing a trip to another country: knowing that it altered me, but not knowing how. It feels like thinking about a journey to France or India on the plane ride home and collecting all the little moments that abide in my mind. I’m uncertain as to why these particular images surfaced from the silty depths of my memory. But what’s certain to me is that they mattered, and because they are still alive, they will continue to matter and to alter me in ways yet unknown. What’s certain is that all these fragments of Nobles have expanded and colored me.
- Julia Fitzgerald ’14