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The Green Jacket

When we hear someone make a reference to “The Green Jacket,” most of us instantly picture a professional golfer who just won the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia.  This competition dishes out one of the most prestigious and unique awards in the sports world: a green jacket that is only to be worn by previous and current champions.  It is a tradition that’s been going strong for over 65 years, which just goes to show how coveted this piece of clothing really is to the hundreds of golfers chasing its elusiveness.  The winners are instantly held to a higher standard than others in the same profession because if they can win the Masters, surely they should be able to compete with the best of the best in future tournaments.  However, around Aquinas, the idea of a green jacket refers to something different in material, but similar in meaning.

The piece of clothing that is recognized around here is the forest-green rain jacket sporting the letters “AQ” on the upper left chest worn by the student ambassadors of Aquinas College. It may not be made from Australian wool like that of the Masters prize, but to me, it holds the same prominence.  During my freshman year, I would see these individuals walking around campus with heads held high, being the most excellent representatives of our school and I knew right away that that would be me one day.  When the email came that notified me of my nomination from a faculty member, my excitement soon turned to disappointment.  If I couldn’t handle the amount of stress I was dealing with at the time as a freshman, how could I be my absolute best with the added pressure of being an “ambassador”- a concept still somewhat foreign to me at the time?  But one of my best friends pushed me to attend the informational meeting so I went.  I knew instantly this was what I needed at Aquinas, regardless of the extra workload it would come with.  Having the opportunity to give tours to prospective students and their families along with being able to meet respected members of the community greatly appealed to me.  I went through the application process and opened a letter one day to realize that I was chosen to represent my school as an ambassador.

Now I need to tell you one of the many reasons why I was so ecstatic to receive this news.  All my life up to this point, I was never part of a team. I played tennis and bowled in high school so most of the emphasis was placed on individual accomplishment.  This letter gave me something more than just a job at AQ, it gave me teammates.  Although many might view this as a little ridiculous, it meant the absolute world to me.  I could finally depend on others when I needed something while also expecting them to have that same trust in me.

This was one of the major turning points in the beginning of my time at Aquinas.  I finally felt a greater purpose at my school by being held to the highest accountability I’ve experienced in my life.  Even better, I get to share this responsibility with over 50 of my peers, who I have since considered family.  Few get to say that they get paid to brag about their school and I am so blessed to be one of those few.


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