Welcome back to campus from someone who was here all summer.

I have to be honest — I feel at least a little important after spending the summer working for Goshen College Communications and Marketing. There is some unexpected dignity found in power-walking across the empty campus on a special mission to pick up cardboard boxes from the admissions office. I marched with purpose over to the Music Center for interviews and sauntered into the Registrar’s Office with signage for their recent move.  

As the first visible person at the Com-Mar front office, I answered a lot of strangers’ questions and did a lot of pointing to send them to the right place. I explained how to find Printing and Mailing, and even showed one guy where the stairs in Wyse were (he walked right by them? I still don’t know how he missed them). After the Com-Mar office moved to the basement of Kulp, it took me a couple tries, but I was able to explain how to find Beth Martin Birky’s new office in the Human Resources suite.

As confident as I feel on campus now, that definitely has not always been the case.

I can’t help but think back to a year ago. Kristin Troyer, Hesston transfer: scared, confused and overwhelmed.

I felt like I didn’t know anything. Surrounded by unfamiliar faces in an unfamiliar place, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than to pack up and head back to rural Kansas where things were familiar.

I didn’t fit in with the upperclassmen but obviously didn’t belong with the first-years either. I tried to tell my story, but the way eyes glazed over when I mentioned Hesston definitely didn’t make me feel welcome.

Maybe you don’t feel welcome here. I know what that’s like because at this time a year ago I felt the same way you do.

Goshen is familiar now. After investing myself in this community — making friends, working for the Record, working in Com-Mar, being willing to ask questions  — I have found how my story intertwines with GC’s.

I am so glad you are here. Your story is welcome here.

So welcome back to all the people who were on campus all summer, and welcome to everyone returning after a summer away. Welcome to the people who had never seen this campus before, and welcome to everyone not sure if they are excited about being here.

Goshen College needs to hear your story.