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'Manchester people'

by Melinda Lantz | Sep 17, 2018

I had coffee recently with a Manchester senior. She asked for the meeting so that she could share her story with me, and I’m grateful that she did.

Her story, in brief, came in three parts.

First, she told me, she found her place at Manchester. It happened through formal connections – her faculty advisor, her residence hall assistant – and also informally. A classmate became a good friend and her go-to person when she hit bumps in the road. “I found ‘my people’ here,” she told me.

Second, she had a life-changing experience when she traveled to Atlanta with a group of education majors. She had planned to teach, but found herself drawn to policy and advocacy work after being immersed with students who had no voice and few advocates. “I completely re-envisioned my career.”

Third, her father was struggling with stage-four cancer, diagnosed during her time at Manchester. Our conversation was on a Monday and later that week she was taking her father to the doctor and to chemo. “I want to be there for him.”

I was reminded as we talked that our students live complex and sometimes challenging lives, making our work with them complex and challenging. Their stories and experiences here make for a rich learning environment for them and for us. I am grateful for our students, faculty, staff and friends – for “our people,” for “Manchester people.”