by Grant Olcott ’19
Through several coming of age stories, Amanda Reinhart spoke about personal development and the person she is. As a director of orientation, Amanda understands the importance of stories and big moments in life. One of the goals of Reflection Friday is to offer the community an intimate chance to gain someone else’s perspective. Amanda absolutely achieved this part. She spoke before the small crowd, as if engaged in intimate conversation with each listener. She seems to be someone to whom nearly everything about life matters, but gratefulness and playfulness came up in every story and were even conveyed in the room as she spoke.
Amanda is grateful for all the experiences she’s had and the people she’s shared them with. She started off by pointing out people never stop growing. Although the college years are known for being a time of self-discovery, Amanda believes the same process continues well after graduation. With a teenager in her household, she appreciates what happens before college as well. Each opportunity to grow is something Amanda is grateful for. When she went to college, she enjoyed the opportunity to experience diversity. She was grateful for her upbringing, but found that the lack of diversity in her predominantly white community stunted her growth. She’s also really thankful today that her friends took her outdoors for the first time a few years ago. Enjoying nature is now an important part of who she is. If she had extra time in the week or money in the bank, she’d spend most of it outside.
One of the important values Amanda shared is having faith that everything will work out. Amanda is no stranger to hardship or painful life circumstances. But she still maintains a positive, grateful, and faithful attitude in her day to day life. It’s what helps her explore, adapt to changing circumstance, and remember to enjoy herself in the present.
Amanda also values play in her life. One can be serious, without taking oneself too seriously. Through play and fun, it’s easier to be present. It’s easier to express gratitude and maintain faith in light of challenging circumstances. When play is forgotten about under stress and pressure, one forgets an important fact of life: there’s no end all be all. There’s nothing so important on which all of life depends. As someone with empathy for those who suffer from mental health issues, Amanda recognizes the importance of play in a healthy life.
The talk was a perfect way to unwind and enjoy a Friday lunch at Middlebury. Amanda lived up to her values. She was vulnerable, open, and generous with her emotions and told the real versions of her stories. Her talk was a wonderful coming of age story that was helpful and fun.