By Julia Hotz
Three weeks ago, during my annual beginning-of-the-school-year-trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond, my mother and I entered the aisle in which the store sells knick-knacks — the often-useless ornaments that serve no utility but to occupy a room’s background noise.
As a woman of high practicality (and, as my housemates could tell you, of low decorative sensibility), I typically overlook this aisle. Yet, upon reading the quotation featured on one of the aisle’s (ridiculously overpriced) wooden signs, I couldn’t help but purchase the decoration and make it a central feature of both my bedroom and my senior year philosophy.
The quotation (featured right) focuses on the importance of living actively; it asks us to find ourselves through asking questions, taking chances, and doing so with a sense of vigor and intention.
And most resonantly (perhaps thanks to some clever, targeted marketing from Bed, Bath and Beyond), the quotation highlights the idea that we are living in the now; it stresses that this, our four precious years at Union, is our time.
While “real-world” sob stories of our recently graduated friends, yesteryear tales of our formerly fun parents and common-campus expressions like “YOLO” and “Treat yo’self” certainly give substance to the notion that college is our time, I would like to emphasize how this idea extends beyond our social lives.
Although we tend to associate the glory of our college days with the hilarious and ridiculous experiences we share with friends, there is also something profound about our opportunities for mental growth in these four short years.
Especially at Union, an institution where you can find an engineer attending a poetry slam session, a lacrosse player attending a rally on climate change and a Chinese major spearheading a musical theater production, we have the rare opportunity to broaden our educations as widely as possible, a prospect that will become increasingly difficult to pursue as the harsh, post-graduate realities of 9-5 commuting, filling out tax forms and paying the bills will soon prove.
Yet perhaps more significant than the pit stops we make within this mental journey of trying new things, asking more questions, exploring current events and challenging old worldviews, we do the single-most important thing that we can do as young, soon-to-be members of the real-world: We form opinions.
Kind of like ordering a pizza after a long night of weekend shenanigans or finding yourself on BuzzFeed when you have a huge paper due in a few hours, forming an opinion, be it on a political debate or a campus issue, just sort of happens; it’s an inevitable, natural side effect of a true liberal arts education.
But too often, these opinions go undeveloped; they escape to the back of our minds, only to be superseded by our more pressing day-to-day tasks.
Indeed, as the last three weeks of last-minute personal-statement-writing/soul-searching for various post-graduate opportunities (#seniorsAmIRight) has taught me, I should have developed these opinions long ago; every chance we have to develop our worldviews and to cultivate our self-concepts should be a chance we take.
And so, my fellow Union students, whether your opinions are naïve, fresh and inquisitive, or your opinions are informed, ripe and preachy, I encourage you to share them with your community through the Concordiensis Opinions section.
I encourage you not just to gain input from your broad Union education, but to respond to such an experience with output; I encourage you to reflect, to react, to challenge or to stand up for something.
Your life is now. Seize it and make it amazing.
Welcome to the Concordiensis Opinions section.