On Community: The House of Margaret Thatcher

“I’m back… and you knew I was coming. On my way here I passed a cinema with the sign ‘The Mummy Returns’.”
Margaret Thatcher

An experience common to college freshman is a transformation in the way they see their parents. As high school seniors they are sick of their home and want nothing more than to get away and see new things—meet new people. But then, as soon as the college high has worn off, and classes have actually shocked them into reality, inevitably home starts to look better and better. College freshmen often come to see that their parents are actually two of the coolest people they’ve ever met. This realization hit me as I started to notice my desire to brag about how awesome my own parents are as soon as the topic arose. I missed them. They were way cooler than I had thought all those years I was “trapped” at home.

I am a member of the House of Margaret Thatcher—a sorority-esque construct of the King’s College, designed to bring together a group of about fifty girls in order to produce something in the way of a home away from home while at college in New York City.

With these women I have competed for the House Cup, studied, cooked, fought, cried, and laughed. Last year I essentially surrendered the typical second year college experience in order to be a member of my houses’ leadership team—and it was awesome. You don’t really understand the whole “living for others” concept as a twenty year old until you have surrendered yourself to the fact that you will only ever get four hours of sleep a night maximum for the rest of the year… and not because you are partying. (I’m pretty sure the only parties I even went to last year were the ones I planned for my house.)

After a year of exacto-knifing, writing scripts, directing performances, planning events, and fixing miscommunications, I was pretty drained. I didn’t really want to see anyone at my school, because I honestly think a year of serving other people made me begin to resent the people I was serving, (as bad as that sounds). The idea of escaping for a semester to another continent had started to sound pretty good… so here I am, far away in Oxford!

But here’s the thing: now that I am at a safe distance across the Atlantic, I miss those girls something awful. They really do feel like family to me now. It took that “college freshman separation” to realize how amazing that group of women really is, and how valuable they are to me.

While I am at Oxford I have made a whole new group of friends, who are great people and from whom I have learned a lot already. We are undertaking our own attempts to foster community, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that what I learned last year as Helmsman of Thatcher isn’t being applied here too.

So for the time being, I will work on the community of which I am a part. I think that is the duty of every human. No matter where you are and who you miss, you should do your best to bloom where you were (trans)planted, as it were.

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