Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to school...But just for a visit

I went to my old stomping grounds today; Linn Benton Community College. My first clue that it was the wrong time to visit the college, should have been the cars parked out along the road in front of the campus.  It’s the first week of the term and everybody is there. A word to the wise, don’t go to a college campus on the first week of the term if you don’t have to. I’ve been too long away from the college life; I should have remembered this.
 New construction going on
Surprisingly I do find a parking space. It’s in the nether regions of the parking lot. I didn’t have to park this far away when I went to school! Whenever I'm here something stirs in me. My time here had a big impact on my life. I should expect strong ties. My greatest inspirations were nurtured here. Some of my biggest challenges had to be met and overcome. Challenges from class and from life. It’s a strong tie.

I see stars!
I came to visit the bookstore. It’s the closest place around that sells quality art supplies. Today is book return day. There you have it; I came to campus in the first week of the term, on book return day, at noon, to visit the bookstore. What was I thinking?  There are a thousand backpacks piled at the front door. There are a thousand students milling around inside. Never mind, I don’t need supplies that badly today. It will wait. 

When visiting the campus I like to stroll through the galleries. Kurt Norlin has his collection of panoramic photography on display. He taught a digital photography class that I took, long before I owned a digital camera.  I enjoy seeing his work again. While in the gallery I find evidence of my time here as a design student. A print of one of my illustrations hangs in a conference room. I’m surprised and pleased that it still gets displayed. It’s a little whisper from my past.

This campus used to be so familiar to me. Now I feel like an outsider, but I still feel that spirit that inspires me to reach beyond what I think I can achieve. I learnt and grew so much here. It should always be familiar. There’s a dynamic to a college campus. I felt it a decade ago when I was a student, and I feel it now. I think it’s the presence of youth, fresh and preparing for their future. It’s vitality. Some will be culled. (I was the first time).  But I returned later and I came with a love for learning that I never knew I had.


Motorcycle parking and a sweet kawasaki


  1. My wife manages the bookstore at a college campus and has for almost 13 years. She's really attached to the campus life and the students and professors. She has students work in the store whom she gets to know well during their four years on campus. She sees the growth and maturity develop. It stuck a cord when you said "there's a dynamic to a campus."

    Nice post Kari - it also brings back memories.

  2. You were out on our motorcycle range, weren't you? I probably painted those stars.

    The turbine blades were donated to the metallurgy classes. Although you probably knew that. Huge, aren't they?

    Balisada, who sometimes comments on my blog, and is linked on my site under Rebel Sightings works in Security at the college. Her Rebel is often parked in that bike parking area.

    Where is the art gallery out there? As you can see, I spend most of my time there in the parking lot!

  3. Hi Mike,
    What a great place to work. What an opportunity to work with students at this time in the lives. Even though I was a student myself, I really liked watching my fellow students mature and develop into great adults. Most of them were only a few years older than my own kids.

  4. Hi Irondad,
    Yes I was. There wasn't anything closer. Nice close parking for the moto's though. I thought you might recognize the star :)
    I wasn't sure what it was for...thought it might be part of that evil serpentine exercise.

    I didn't know anything about the turbine blades. I wasn't sure what they were at first. I wonder what they're going to do with them. I wanted to stop and get a better pic, but there wasn't a spot close by and I had to get to Corvallis.

    The main gallery is in South Santiam Hall. They also have displays in North Santiam Hall and Calapooya center. They used to have a photography program, but sadly, it's been cut.