Looking back at college years

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com/chaplain).

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Mounted on the wall above my computer is my college diploma. It is small and quite simple. When I think back to those years as a co-ed, it does not seem long ago. Yet, I graduated 26 years ago. Why does it seem like only yesterday?

Many of us hold cherished memories from our high school or collegiate years. I would not call those four years at a small, liberal arts college in upstate New York the best years of my life as I think each year is or has the possibility to be the greatest.

Sitting here gives me pause to reflect upon those 26 years. Where have I traveled, both physically and emotionally? What have I accomplished and where have I failed to do my best? What would I change if given the opportunity?  There are certainly times and experiences I would not want to relive given the opportunity.

Why is it that 26 years seems like a blink of the eye, yet simultaneously, feels like much longer? Do I even resemble the 21-year-old who stood on the edge of a world of possibilities? How much wiser and, yet, how much more vulnerable do I feel today?

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I reflect on my choices and am content, or at least I have made peace with my journeys knowing that regret is wasted time and energy. Interestingly, I don’t look at my rabbinical ordination diploma through the same eyes. In those five years of graduate school, I was already closer to who I am today than I was five years prior. Sometimes, the simple, less complex is easier to hold.