There’s the stereotypical twenty-something-year-old who couldn’t tell you where half of his classes are, having slept through them after spending countless nights on the Hill. Sure, he may not be able to differentiate the business building from the science hall, but ask him for a list of places that serve food past midnight and he could rattle off restaurants for days-- now that’s valuable information, right?
Or the opposite end of the spectrum: the studious, biomechanical engineering major who wants to become a rocket surgeon (yes, think about it) or something impressive like that. He has his usual spot at the library, knows the hours by heart, and maybe even found a secret study place for finals week.
Somewhere between those stereotypes you might find some students who work hard from 9-5 before letting loose on the weekends, or the president of a couple clubs trying to boost her resume.
You’ve got your athletes, honors students, hipsters, teacher’s pets… the list goes on. But the true beauty of this list is there is no wrong answer; at the end of the day we all get to the same place-- and I’m not talking about a degree or a job.
Let’s go back to the examples for a moment. Picture the party animal out on the Hill for the third night in a row; is he alone? Of course not! He’s more than likely surrounded by familiar faces.
You probably pictured the future brain surgeon rocket scientist guy alone at a table, but what if I told you he was actually sitting across from a classmate, quizzing her for their next test?
The one thing each and every one of us will get out of college, no matter how we live it, is friends. Some way or another, whether we mean to or not, we all find our people at this stage in our lives. I found mine through this beautiful thing I like to call Dance Marathon.
A few years ago I was that high schooler who bounced around from sport to club to sport depending on the season. I like to believe I fit in wherever I went, but I never truly belonged with anybody. At UNI, that changed when I found people who are truly like me. Not just interested in the same thing, or on the same team from November to February, but who truly think like me, act like me, and believe in the same future as me.
That future looks like a lot more kids growing up to find their people, but it’s going to be quite the journey. There’s a girl out there right now who may never meet her best friend in that ridiculous Oral Comm. class we all have to take because of a heart condition. There’s a boy in the next town over who won’t ever play on that intramural team with the guys who eventually become his groomsmen because he was born premature. That group of friends who meet up every summer for a week at the lake is incomplete, and they don’t even know it because the child that should have been their best friend had cancer and never grew up to meet them. These kids need people like us, who have made it this far, to turn around and clear a path for them to get here, too. We’re the only ones who know how important true friends can be.
I found my place. I think everyone else deserves to grow up long enough to find theirs.
In Memory of Tristan
February 17, 2020
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