I could have never predicted it, but Saint Michael’s College put me on a path to discovering the greatest loves of my life. I met my husband, Matthew Colby, during the spring semester of 2000. We were sophomores and were enrolled in Dr. Fran Toomey’s Adolescent Development class. We were just starting out on our journey to become teachers–he was focusing on history and I was focusing on English. We both grew up in New Hampshire where our hometowns were about 20 miles apart from each other. He wore a bright yellow ski jacket and had a flat-top haircut. I wore Birkenstocks and Doc Martens. We both lived in Alumni and became fast friends. During our time at Saint Michael’s we were active members of the Student Association. We did internships at schools in the greater Burlington area. We proofread each other’s papers, provided moral support, and hung out downtown at What Ales You.
Before we knew it, we were graduating and returning home to New Hampshire to seek out teaching jobs. I knew that I had found a lifelong friend in Matthew and was ecstatic when we both found jobs at the same high school. We supported each other through those first few years. The job was demanding, but we loved the work, loved the challenge, loved the students. At some point (though we really don’t remember when), our relationship changed. We were still best friends, but we turned into the sort of best friends who want to build their lives together. I cannot pinpoint the exact time when my feelings started to change, but I suspect that it all probably started when we were at Saint Michael’s. Perhaps it started on that first walk back to Alumni from Saint Ed’s. Or maybe during that dinner in Alliot. Back then I knew that I found someone special — a compassionate, funny, focused, dedicated, smart friend. I knew then that he would be a friend for life. When he became my husband, I had a partner for life. Nearly three years ago, we welcomed our son, Stephen Michael Colby (The initials are a total accident, we swear!) into our family. He has brought us joy beyond any joy that we knew before.
Saint Michael’s led me to work that I love. Teaching is meaningful and fulfilling — and Saint Michael’s helped me to understand the importance of community and compassion in the classroom. Saint Michael’s led me to my husband. Together, we learned much from the Saint Michael’s community. We learned that the positive contributions that you make to your community are what matters, the way that we treat each other is what matters, the compassion that we show to each other is what matters, the relationships that we build are what matters. Saint Michael’s led us to our son. He reminds us to be curious about the world, to say “I love you” often, and to treat everyone as a friend.
Matthew and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this summer. Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday that we were walking across the Quad. It’s crazy to think that nearly twenty years have passed since we stepped foot on campus as first-year students. Who knew that those first few steps would lead us to each other?
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone at Saint Michael’s college.