From 1994-1997, I attended Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT. Though I have attended three other outstanding universities since then, MCC provided me with the best education that I have ever received. During my three years at the college, a majority of my classes were held in portable classrooms and trailers on what was known then as the Lower Campus. These were old, drafty, rickety structures that looked more like an abandoned trailer park than an institution of higher learning. While I learned a great deal inside those flimsy walls, this was not what I had imagined college to be when I first enrolled.
Today Manchester Community College is a fully modernized school with a brand new campus. It looks nothing like the school that I attended a fourteen years ago. I was back on campus last week as a member of the Regional Advisory Board, and as I was leaving my meeting, I decided to take a look at the Lower Campus and see what the trailers and portable classrooms look like today.
In their place, I found this empty, albeit picturesque field.
I’m pleased that today’s students no longer have to don their winter coats during algebra class or travel from one evening class to another in virtual darkness, but there was something about the complete elimination of my past that does not sit well with me.
I have so many memories from my three years at MCC, and a great deal of them took place on the Lower Campus. Other than a crumbling concrete staircase leading down to the field, there is no evidence that this place once so important to me ever existed.
Please don’t get me wrong. It’s a lovely field, and I’m sure the college will make excellent use of it someday. But somehow my memories of a ramshackle collection of tottering buildings and the fuzzy, yellow haze of arc sodium lighting will always seem more beautiful to me.