I never went to the Thanksgiving dinners in the dining hall when I was at Carroll. I have no idea why. It probably had something to do with not thinking the cafeteria would be a good place for Thanksgiving dinner. Looking back, I wish I had. I now realize that Thanksgiving is more about relationships than turkey (although turkey is important, don’t get me wrong). It would have been nice to share that quirky little moment with my college friends.
I never went on the spring break trips either. My father was probably thrilled about it at the time, but there are stories and experiences on which I missed out. In the moment, I decided I wasn’t a warm weather or beach person, so why would I go on spring break? Reflection tells me that of course it was about fun in the sun, but it was also about sharing new adventures with friends.
There are plenty of things I am glad I did, like join The Carroll News staff and spend seemingly endless nights cropping photos and putting together ad layouts – by hand nonetheless. I made friends that are still my close friends today. It seems to me that a well-rounded college experience is as much about what you learn in the classroom as it is about what you learn in between classes. I learned responsibility whether I liked it or not. I discovered the things that were important to me and the things I wouldn’t compromise.
College, for me, was about relationships. It was about connecting with people who will be your friends for the rest of your life. People who helped you grow up while in college, people who struggled alongside with you all the way until Commencement. Those are the same people who know my shortcomings today and still support me. As I am reminiscing in this short space, I am not necessarily advocating that you must go to the Thanksgiving dinners in the dining hall or that you can’t miss the spring break trip. What I am advocating is that you look around you and appreciate all the benefits of both inside and outside the classroom.
Of course, I learned a lot academically and I am sure my education lead me to where I am today in my career.
But there is nothing like going to a reunion and seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while and being able to pick up right where you left off. That is definitely something for which I’m thankful.