Baby running on wheeler mall

My husband and I both graduated from Longwood, and for like many other alumni, it’s a place that will forever feel like a second home.

No Matter how much time passes between visits to campus, memories flood back from the moment I drive into Farmville, to the moment I leave. I’ve been back many times since graduating in 2010, but this summer, I took my 15-month-old on a little day trip to the best university in the world.

It was more emotional and weird than I expected. Before,when I walked around as an alumni, I had this delusion that it was still my campus. That nothing had really changed, and that it hadn’t been a decade since I first stepped foot onto campus as a freshman.

But this time it was different. Walking around campus with a stroller, a diaper bag and a 15-month-old made me keenly aware that I couldn't pretend like I could pass as a 28-year-old student. Conversely, it was so special to see the campus through the eyes of an alumni and a parent. Although my son had no idea what I was talking about,I gave him an ear-full about one of my favorite places.

This is where the best brunch happens.

Also, “a d-hall omelet, hash browns and biscuit is the best cure to a hangover”


“…That you’ll never have because you’ll be too busy studying and volunteering with the elderly.” Just in case anyone was wondering, I'm Still in the running for Mother of the Year.

The prettiest tree ever used to be right here.

I can’t lie, walking past the ghost of the Cunninghams and knowing he’ll never see that beautiful tree in the fall made me a little bit sad. (Tell me I’m not alone in missing that tree!)

This is where Daddy Asked Mommy to be his girlfriend.

Ten years ago, on a walk back to my dorm in Curry, right next to the tennis courts, my husband gave me a ring made out of tin foil asked if we could make things “official.” I still have that tinfoil ring in my jewelry box.

Baby Photo

I used to see so many of friends right here every day.

Standing in Beale Plaza while my son tried to play in the fountain/drown himself, I couldn’t help but remember how this used to be a gathering place after many classes; a hub for friends waiting on each other before heading to d-hall for lunch or dinner.


I gingerly redirected my son when he tried to pluck flowers or throw much, but I nearly body checked him when I saw him running towards the Rotunda right outside Lancaster. Guys, I don’t need that kind of bad luck on my conscious.

You’re about twenty years early, but this is where the chapter will end.

Seeing my son running down Wheeler Mall, I couldn’t help but get all weepy and sappy and wonder if all our brainwashing will work if one day, our son won’t toddle around the lawn as a little baby, but walk down that aisle as young man ready to grab his diploma and take on the world.

Do you have similar stories to tell?

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About the Author

Colleen Nichols Headshot

Colleen Whitney Nichols '10

Colleen Nichols loves everything about Longwood. Before graduating in 2010 with a degree in psychology, she was involved on campus as an Alpha Delta Pi, Peer Mentor, and a Longwood Ambassador. She met her husband during her first weekend at Longwood, they became "official" that October after a CHI walk, and he proposed on her graduation day in front of Ruffner. Following graduation, Colleen earned her Master's Degree in Counseling from George Mason University, and is the proud owner of a coaching and consulting business. Colleen is also an established blogger, freelance writer, and a new mom. Not a Saturday goes by that she doesn't long for D-Hall brunch.

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