The Collegian
Saturday, April 20, 2024

When all is said and done...

As I sat at the head of a long table tucked away in the corner of Mom's Siam Thai restaurant, I looked at the young, happy people at my table and couldn't help but feel overwhelmingly drunk. I had not had any alcohol at this point; rather, I was completely and utterly love drunk. I was surrounded by my closest friends at this school and couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of affection for all of them. I also couldn't help but laugh because more than half of them were Collegian staff.

At first glance, it would seem only natural that (as with any team, group or club where much time is spent and collaborative effort made together) we at The Collegian could grow close. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that there is much more to the relationships I've fostered during my time working on The Collegian.

I remember when I was first applying to the University of Richmond. I had heard of the school through a colleague of my mother's whose daughter had attended Richmond. As the story tends to go, I took one look at the campus and was immediately seduced.

I remember the hours I spent pining over my application to make sure every detail was correct and every blank space had been filled in. It wasn't until the admissions essay, however, that I felt a dire need to really prove myself.

The prompt, as I recall, was to comment on a quote by American author Christopher Morley and apply it to the experience that an education at the University of Richmond would provide me as a potential new student.

The quote was as follows: "Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity."

To which I responded, "Christopher Morley's quote represents the classic tradition of individual reasoning that is an essential part of a liberal arts education. He suggests that people need to create their own lives and define themselves as non-conformists in an increasingly complex world. The forces towards uniformity are abundant in our daily lives; particularly in high school. Morley intimates that we need to step outside of those conventions so as not to become part of unanimity.

"We need to be increasingly more aware of our global society and must develop the capacity to understand differences and recognize that differences are good. His quote speaks to our own abilities to transcend our own norms and patterns of behavior. His use of repetition in 'Read every day, think every day, do every day,' signifies that this must be a daily act. It is ongoing and fluid and part of the journey of being a lifelong learner.

"Morley invites the reader to consider the frivolity of life as well. The paradox is that he suggests that silliness is a serious matter. We need a sense of the absurd to understand what really makes us tick as human beings. It is essential in all experiential learning to be able to engage in silly acts and to be able to laugh at one's self.

"Christopher Morley's quote makes no mention about building relationships with other people and there is no real sense of community mentioned in his quote; both of which are very important to me. However, it represents for me a mantra that should be carried out by all individuals, especially those who may be leaving home for the first time, to avoid unanimity by being actively engaged in a learning environment that is intellectually and socially stimulating. I recognize with absolute certainty that the University of Richmond will provide me with a unique and challenging environment."

Morely's quote holds more meaning for me today, seven weeks away from graduation, than it could have ever meant to me then. Looking back on my four years at Richmond I have many memories of the good, bad and difficult choices I have made that have shaped and shifted me into the person that I am today.

Of all the choices I have made during my time at Richmond, the best, by far, was joining The Collegian. Throughout the course of my Collegian "career," first as assistant opinion editor sophomore and junior years, and then as editor for senior year, I have shared with readers my thoughts on various matters. Whether they were serious or silly, deep or sarcastic, they were written with the intention to start a dialogue among students, faculty, alumni and administrators. I can only hope, whether you agreed with what I wrote or not, that I was able to create a forum for discussion among all of you.

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Morley's quote has held true for me, because you, readers of The Collegian, have continuously challenged me to think and read and doubt and care about facts, events, people, situations and problems that range on a scale that stretches from the revolutionary cries of young rebels in Libya to the frustrations of students who have lost a beloved coach and teacher because of unknown, internal antics and disagreements within certain departments at University of Richmond.

As a sophomore I raised the question of why there was nothing to do on the weekends at University of Richmond that didn't involve alcohol. Ironically enough, a year and a half later I was writing an article about how no one attended alcohol-free events that were provided for students by CAB on the weekends.

I touched on issues regarding youth addiction to instant gratification, domestic violence among young people and the stress and anxiety caused by looking for jobs and internships.

I questioned one's need for a spiritual outlet and our ability as humans to properly define love. I tried to comprehend happiness in 800 words or less and complained incessantly about student/teacher dynamics and the lack of accountability on both ends.

Each week I attempted to make sense of all of the thoughts jumbled up inside my head in a way that was understandable, relatable and poignant to my peers.

The constant support, tough love, insightful discussions, constructive criticisms and inspiration I've received from my Collegian family has reaffirmed in me the belief that Morley's quote has stood the test of my time at this school.

The Collegian has been my outlet for breaking free from the constraints of unanimity.

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