Life After Ripon — Raymond Allen ’15

Chapter 1: Nostalgia

[Editor’s Note: Raymond Allen ’15, Karena Schroeder ’15, and Madeline Poullette ’15 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!]

Nostalgia. If you take this word and smash it really hard with a grammar hammer, you’ll find that Nostalgia is made up of two Greek words. The first word, nostos, means “return home”; the second, algos, means “pain”. This cool little word perfectly sums up one’s feeling when they do as the word describes and return home or are reminded of experiences they have had. You are overcome with joy to be reliving that memory, but at the same time, you know that your life has changed.

Since that quick-paced day in May when I crossed the stage at Ripon College, this word has been hitting me directly in the face at least once a day. When I arrived back home, nostalgia hit me for the stereotypical reasons: seeing family and friends, sleeping in a familiar bed, and laughing over old memories. Something I wasn’t expecting, however, was the intense nostalgia that was coming from memories of my second home, Ripon College. During my lunch breaks by the lake, I see schools of fish that remind me of the research I took part in with Dr. Sisson as a Chemistry-Biology major. While chatting with high school students and soon to be first-year college students, I’m flooded with thoughts of my time on the Residence Life team and working in Scott Hall. Thinking about upcoming weekends makes me think about watching movies and hanging out with friends I’ve made in Farr Hall, the Martial Arts Club, and my first year at Ripon. Even finding the etymology of words (the thing I did at the beginning) throws me back into the classes I took with Dr. Lowry for my Latin minor.

These bouts of nostalgia are well worth it though, due to where these Ripon experiences have me now and where I will be in a few short weeks. I grew up on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin, where I am a fully-fledged tribal member ready to put my brand-spanking new Ripon degree to the test. This summer I am employed as an intern by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians through their Tribal Natural Resources Department, and it has been great fun! I get to learn about aquatic invasive species such as the Spiny Waterflea, educate the public on what the department is accomplishing, and sample a range of environments while enjoying the weather.

In less than a month, I will have completed my internship and will be making my way down to North Carolina. While on the east coast, I will be working towards my Ph.D. at Duke University in their Developmental and Stem Cell Biology program. Within a few days of arriving, I will start my first lab rotation and have the opportunity to meet my fellow first-year graduate students and new professors.

In the interim of these life-changing events, I will be able to reflect on the experiences I’ve had at Ripon and the ones I am currently experiencing back in my hometown. I hate to rain a little bit on the parade I just laid out in this post, but I have to say that there are inherent problems that my people and I face on and off the reservation on a daily basis. I won’t go into specifics about these conundrums but know that, similar to nostalgia, these problems have taken a swing at me quite a few times. These dark events occur in all of our lives, and they are scary when you encounter them; they make you question what you have, are, and will do with your life and may make you want to stop altogether. When these times come, however, you need to push through and find the light that is or will be in your life. Ripon College is one of those lights to me. I think about all the caring and knowledgeable people I met while at school, and I use what they taught me in and outside the classroom to keep progressing.

Ripon College is one of my homes and, using what I was taught, I plan to make a new home in North Carolina. Well everyone, thanks for reading and don’t worry, my next post hopefully won’t be as deep!

To those who will be at Ripon this upcoming fall, enjoy your summer and look forward to your college adventures! To others who are now my fellow alumni, good luck with your endeavors and appreciate your Ripon nostalgia!

Raymond (or Ray) Allen ‘15

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