The Importance of a Good Front Porch

As a resident of the Humanities House, I am fortunate enough to have a lovely, semi-private front porch on which to spend the majority of my downtime. Many residents of Drury’s campus have nothing but public spaces or patches of pavement from which they can enjoy the outdoors. The front porch of this house has been my constant companion through many afternoons of doing homework and snacking. The front porch offers an interesting perspective on life at Drury and has taught me things a classroom in Burnham cannot.

It might sound unusual, but watching squirrels run through the trees has taught me a lot about existing in the now. Squirrels have to focus on the branch in front of them, otherwise they are sure to hit the ground and never make it to that nut on the next tree. It amazes me that even though their desire to eat is probably crazy intense, they are still able to focus on the task at hand; not falling down. The future is a significant fear for me. As I spend time dreaming about the future, I sometimes have a hard time focusing on the task at hand. I think a lot about life after college, searching the web for graduate schools and future apartments. I’ve been told that college is the place where you discover yourself, to get involved and soak it all in.  Spending time on the front porch allows me to just sit and observe life going by.  It has helped me practice living in the present and not worrying so much about my next move; focusing on the task at hand.

While sitting on the front porch, I see middle and high school students walking home. I wonder if they think about some of the same things I did when I was their age, including the future?  Or are the kids walking by thinking about other things in their lives, such as who will be home when they get there and if there will be food for dinner?  I’ve always known I’ll have food to eat for dinner and a safe place to sleep. Not all of the kids in the neighborhoods around Drury have those luxuries. The front porch has allowed me to observe the neighborhood around campus in a way that walking down Drury Lane does not. It has taught me to be thankful for all of the opportunities I am afforded at Drury, to take advantage of them, and recognize how they will help me find security in the future.

The front porch of the Humanities House has, in some ways, been more of a home to me than the actual house. I have learned that a front porch is a necessity in my life. I do not know how I have lived so long without one. While many of my goals for the future evolve daily, one that remains the same is the goal to one day have a house with a front porch as great as the one here. As the year moves on, I will continue to live my life from this porch. I expect many more introspective discoveries (like how spiders are really gross) to come from my time here, and my ability to enjoy the present to expand. A space so comfortable is hard to come by, and come next summer, I will have to move on to another living space. I just hope that everyone can find the same comfort and learning environment somewhere at Drury that I have found on this porch, and I hope that when the time comes, I’ll find another one, too.

— ES