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Saint Stock Wonderland

Typically, I am an introvert. There’s no denying this statement unless I’m with my friends and I can be as goofy and outgoing as I want to be. Coming into my freshman year at Aquinas College I wanted to reinvent myself from shy, loner girl in high school to the social butterfly type I have the potential to be. I figured this wouldn’t be too difficult because I came to Aquinas knowing absolutely no one so I set my attitude on positive and was determined to be the girl who brought smiles and giggles to everyone’s faces. I sit here at the villa in Rome surrounded by my friends on this Italy study abroad trip and I notice that I’ve finally accomplishing my goal by all the smiles and laughter coming from my friend’s faces.

To be social you have to be involved on campus, plain and simple. At the beginning of each semester Aquinas has an event called Saint Stock where every club at AQ presents what they stand for and the cool activities they have planned for the semester. Saint Stock takes place in our Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center where you walk through the gym doors to find rows and rows of plastic tables set up with decorations pertaining to each specific club at Aquinas College on their surfaces. There is pizza, candy, soda, doughnuts, pens, pins, plants, telescopes, and so much more. In my opinion it’s one big fiesta. The energy in the room vibrates with sweaty students from all four years just trying to find the place where they belong in their college careers.

When I was a freshman I walked into Saint Stock and signed up for EVERYTHING. It wasn’t very realistic and I wound up being involved in two clubs. I’m a huge music lover. I sing all the time anywhere and any chance I get so Music Club was a no-brainer to sign up for. We did so many amazing activities like getting tickets to the Grand Rapids Opera and Symphony, setting up outdoor concerts for anyone who signed up to perform music in front of the Arts and Music Center or in the Moose Café, and we drew musical notes on t-shirts and decorated them. Also, where there are clubs, there is food! I ate better at my club’s meetings than I did in my dorm room.

I was completely content with just being a part of Music Club but then AQpella audition flyers went up around campus. One of the biggest weaknesses I have is performing in front of a group of people so never in a million years would I have thought of allowing myself to sing in front of anybody. Singing was reserved for showers or belting out Taylor Swift lyrics in the car. Two days before the auditions I still hadn’t made up my mind whether I should find the courage to audition or not. With the encouragement from my friends on my floor I started picking a song to sing leaving me with only two hours before the audition to practice. Not that I encourage procrastination, but the pressure to cram practice in rewarded me with a spot on AQpella. I became an official acapella singer for Aquinas College. When I got the acceptance email I felt so much excitement and accomplishment for conquering my fear. As a result I was able to do something I’m so passionate about. I told myself that when it comes time to performing at the Moose I would let myself freak out but for the time being, I had fun learning songs, making new friends with amazing girls that shared the same passion as I do, and hearing the beautiful melody flowing out of our vocal chords that we made simultaneously in different pitches and ranges.

I was a part of something.

You can be a part of something too!

If there is any advice I can give you it’s to pursue your hobbies in college. Robert Frost, one of the greatest American poets of all time, wrote a poem called “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” He spoke of a person’s hobbies in the poem saying, “The blows that a life of self-control/Spares to strike for the common good,/That day, giving a loose to my soul,/I spent on the unimportant wood.” Our hobbies help us keep our sanity in the face of insanity and stress. We’re all college students here so we know stress all too well, which is why we need our hobbies to lift us out of the hole we dig ourselves in from excessive amounts of homework, writing papers, and studying for exams. I’ve learned from my three wonderful years at Aquinas College that you have the power to decide how your four years of college go. Whether they’re awful four years or the best four years of your life is up to you. My wish is that you chose the latter option.

Arrivederci—till we speak again!

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