Last Word: A Bucknell Beacon
In the dark moments, small flickers of connection shine brightly.
By Jennifer Blob Boner '95
On a recent trip, I had a layover at the Lynchburg, Va., airport. Still hours from home and weary from a long day filled with travel delays, I heard, "Go, Bison, down the field." I was immediately cheered as I struck up a conversation with a fellow alum who had seen the familiar "B" on my trusty Bucknell sweatshirt. Though we graduated decades apart, we shared many similar Bucknell experiences and a great affinity for our alma mater. My late drive home was energized by the conversation my husband, Christopher Boner '95, and I had reminiscing about our college life and our current life in the larger Bucknell world.
Almost every student at Bucknell talks about the "Bucknell Bubble" and the feeling that, while at Bucknell, you are safe in its confines and just a little bit out of touch with the world at large. Current events revolve around classes, sports, friends and the issues important to a small group of students who make them known to the campus community. Upon graduation, we are confronted with the reality that the world is a much more complicated place, a place where the concerns of our friends and neighbors are small compared to the troubles of the world. And there isn't a bubble to shelter us from those realities.
It is comforting, then, to make small Bucknell-world connections that take you back to times fondly remembered. This happens so often for me that I find it remarkable. I wear my Bucknell gear often and proudly, and more often than not it seems to lead to a new connection. Whether at my children's school, at sporting events, while shopping or even traveling to foreign countries, I have found that these connections always bring me joy in the moment and in the moments after as I reflect and reminisce. "Did you go to Bucknell too?!" "My brother went to Bucknell, and my daughter is waiting to hear if she got in." Often these connections have come when I needed them most - when I had moved to a new town, was missing my dear friends or was anxious about fitting into a new situation.
The most comforting and memorable Bucknell connection for me, to date, occurred when our then 14-month-old son needed major surgery. We had seen four specialists who all agreed that the surgery was necessary but were unwilling to perform it because of its delicate nature and our son's small size. We finally found a surgeon at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., who was willing to perform the surgery. During our pre-op interview, he saw our Bucknell gear and asked if we knew his cousin, a Bucknell alumnus. Not only had we graduated with his cousin, he was a friend of ours. This connection was a flicker of light at a dark time, a sign that we were meant to be in that place, at that time, with this surgeon holding our precious son in his hands. And, again, I smiled despite myself and said a silent prayer of thanks for my Bucknell world.
Jennifer Blob Boner '95 lives in Purcellville, Va., where she is the mother of three boys and a class reporter for Bucknell Magazine.