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The Transition

I’m different.  I wanted to stay in high school for the rest of my life.  While my peers were anxious to get as far away from our little town of Caledonia, Michigan as they could, I never wanted to leave.  However, unlike most from my grade, my high school experience could not have gone better.  Finishing in the top ten of my class of 330, being vice president of Student Council, and getting crowned as prom king were just a few of the many reasons why I never wanted to grow up.  Making a name for yourself and being able to be noticed by other students is the goal that society has attached to the high school experience and as far I was concerned, I achieved that goal.  The last thing I wanted to do was throw all of that out the window and start the next four years of my life with a clean slate.  Looking back now I am shocked not only at my conceitedness during my career at Caledonia High, but also at the success of society’s popularity pressure.  I lost sight of the things that actually mattered and focused instead on my name showing up in tweets, Facebook posts, and articles in the local newspaper.  As if any of those things actually made a difference in the world.  Regardless of who I was in high school, it did not take long for the four charisms of prayer, service, study, and community at Aquinas College to open my eyes to the true importance of life.

As a commuter, the first few weeks of school went great.  My day consisted of waking up at 9 am, going to class until about 3pm and then driving straight home to finish some homework and sleep for a good ten hours every night.  And that’s how it went for the next few months, attending the occasional Improv show when I was certain there was nothing more important to do.  A few of the friends I made at orientation urged me to stay on campus longer each day but I didn’t really see the point in doing so.  So this is what all the hype surrounding college is about?  Getting to sleep a few extra hours?  I was highly dissatisfied so I decided to do something way out of my comfort zone.

One of my friends told me about the service learning trip to Peru that was taking place in the summer and I applied right away, hoping that maybe things would finally click following this experience.  The acceptance letter I received regarding the trip was a true blessing from above because it lifted the fog that was obstructing my perception of Aquinas and life in general.  Volunteering in Peru for two weeks was the most rewarding experience of my entire life.  It helped me see that you should not achieve greatness for the spotlight, but rather because you have the chance to do so.  I met 70 of the most beautiful orphans while on my trip and I knew very well there was a good chance they would never be exposed to the opportunities that we take advantage of here, let alone attend college and land a successful career.  This is what college is about.  It’s about meeting new people and forming new relationships, it’s about bonding over a once in lifetime experience, it’s about being able to do things that you never would be able to do outside of school, it’s about capturing that moment when you look into an orphan’s eyes and tell yourself that you are going to give 100% of what you have in everything that you do.  I finally came to the realization that my “fame” in high school was over and I could not be happier.  It was time for me to embark on the next chapter of life instead of rereading what I had already written.  For this amazing experience and many more that I know are in the future, I am forever grateful to Aquinas College.




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