For if you give me a slab of clay, with your instruction I shall sculpt perfection.
Campus is a completely different animal during the summer. The nights are balmy and inviting, the sprinklers run their rampant tyranny over their kingdom of concrete (and occasionally grass), and I'll be darned if passing someone on the sidewalks isn't like seeing a unicorn. In other words, it’s a pretty neat place. That being said, most of you have already realized that C of I is our own little Caldwellian oasis, our bastion against the outside world, and odds are you’re going to be pretty protective of it. I get it. I am too. But, every year there is one glaring, painful fact that shows its face, and I’m a bit hesitant to accept it: we have to share our kingdom with a new batch of young’uns. It’s fine though. Totally fine.
Now, if you'll pass me my cane, I'll gladly wave it menacingly while yelling from my porch.
The Thursday afternoon sun was gentle with its rays, a pleasant treat for the newcomers and their parents, but a subtle reminder for the rest of us that yeah, it’s getting darker earlier, and yeah, summer’s almost over. Classes are starting soon. It’s obviously bittersweet, moving from the peaceful lull of boredom to the exciting sting of learning again. With these thoughts at the forefront of my mind, I wasn’t sure what to think as the full-bodied pipe organ heralded the start of Convocation. Two long years have passed since the start of my own adventure, and somewhere in the mix I seem to have forgotten the punchline.
Somewhere in those two years, I became old and cynical.
But there’s an upshot to all of this. To me, this year’s Convocation speeches were more than just words. They sang songs of hope, of our potential and all of the opportunities we’re exposed to. They shared a glint of a chaotic future wrapped neatly in a box of adventure, travel tags reading "Serendipity". Far be it from me, an already jaded young man with 4 semesters of Boone-fueled determination propping open my permanently weary eyes like toothpicks, to still consider "hope" on a day to day basis. But maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the year for more sarcasm and sass. Because, when I was exposed to such a brief spark of inspirational rhetoric, it stunned me. It sat me down and told me “Listen”. And I did. I liked what I heard.
I want this year to be a catalyst for change and growth. I’m about to hop into a metal tube with wings and fly across our globe and live there for four months, and I’m not quite sure what to expect. An old roommate once told me that the only way to produce good change is by having a good attitude. Traveling or not, I think that’s a good mantra for our college years. The experiences we want to have are limited only by our willingness to pursue them. I hope for the best this year, so I think it’s time to put away the old-man mentality and embrace the inevitable change.
So, to the class of 2019 whom I won't be meeting until my return in January, I wish you the absolute best of luck, and I welcome you to our paradise. To the speakers of convocation, I thank you for inspiring positivity. To everyone else, let’s fly higher and achieve more than we ever imagined.