Alma mater (Latin: alma “nourishing/kind”, mater “mother”; pl. [rarely used] almae matres) is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university orcollege. It is used to refer to a school which an individual has attended. In English, the phrase is variously translated as “nourishing mother,” “nursing mother,” or “fostering mother,” suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students.
Yesterday I had the chance to come back to the place that has made the most significant part of my own personalities so far… It was not the first time I came back to school. I have came back to school for a couple of times after graduation. I came back once to attend the commencement ceremony of the Class of 2014. Recently, while studying for the first level of CFA, as my class was next to school, I often went into school for lunches. Every time I set my first step into the campus, I always feel the peace filled up my mind. I thought much about the previous days, looked at the current students and thought that I used to be like them. I love walking on the familiar paths or simply finding my old corners. But the come-back I made yesterday is not the same as the others I have made so far. A month ago, I was informed by my classmate about the call for alumni’s feedback on the program from my faculty. The day before yesterday, I received a text message and an email from a beloved teacher of mine at university about the schedule for the meeting. I was so eager for the meeting that I read through the curriculum and detailed program and prepared myself with lots of feedback on the subject of Taxation and tax system in Vietnam. It was such a long time since I last came to the faculty office and it seemed to me that I just left that room not so long ago. Things have not changed much since my last time there. My friends and I did have really relaxing time writing out our feedback and talking with my teacher about the pros and cons of the program from the perspective of the alumni, who has participated in the workforce for two years. Though I am not sure if our comments will be taken seriously or make any significant changes but I do appreciate the chance to contribute to the improvement.
However, I have not had the chance to say to my teacher that regardless of the flaws in the program, I cannot say thanks enough to my school. The school may not provide me with enough knowledge or skill to thrive in my own life after graduation, in fact, I find myself struggled after graduation to figure out who I am and who I really want to be. However, it has equipped me with lots of lessons that hardly can any school teach me in that short 4-year period. We learn to respect our friends’ personalities no matter how weird they may be. We learn about the win-win spirit, learn to give before taking. We learn to pay it forward. We are taught that hard work will pay off eventually. We are taught to dream and motivated to realize our dream.
It was such a coincidence that my father and I had a discussion about the word “Alma mater” in the morning before I left home for work. Therefore, the word came across my mind immediately when I thought about a title for that come-back. “Intellectual nourishment” may sound pompous but among all schools I have attended up to now, it should be the one that do the best at “feeding some basic intellectual nourishment to its students.”