ColinOpinionForget not the privileges that have helped you get where you are

The first time I was chosen to compete in a spelling bee, I thought I might be the luckiest kid ever. The first time I sang onstage with a choir, I was pretty sure that I was the luckiest kid ever. The first time I won a high school Public Forum debate, I decided I was the luckiest kid ever. The first time I stepped onto Concordia College’s campus as a new freshman student, I felt sure I was the luckiest kid ever.

There have been several points during my life during where I was reminded that I am a truly fortunate human being. While I was consistently being reminded that I was special – thanks Mom – there were several moments when I was especially conscious of how truly blessed I was.

The first time I sent an informational yet ridiculously “punny” SAGA email to a list of inclusive people on campus, I knew I was the luckiest kid ever. The first time I took a sociology class and learned how passionate I was about every type of diversity, I knew I was the luckiest kid ever. The first time I realized that my current group of friends would be the friends that I would spend the rest of my life with, I knew I was the luckiest kid ever.

As my time at Concordia comes to an end, my number of ‘luckiest kid’ moments consistently increases. Every day of my senior year, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have had this experience and how incredible the opportunities I’ve engaged in are. The people I’ve known, smiled at, hugged, made awkward eye contact with and loved are the people that have made me the luckiest kid ever.

Concordia was able to make me feel like the luckiest kid ever by allowing me to recognize that luck had nothing to do with it.

Concordia taught me that the privileges I had were due to an inherent privilege I had over others in society. Concordia taught me that I had some prejudices facing me that were built into a heterosexist world, but it also taught me that I could fight those prejudices… and win. Concordia taught me that my involvement was allowed to be as varied as my interests. And when my involvement branched out in a million directions, Concordia gave me advisors, professors and friends who helped me trim the branches and continue to grow. Concordia gave me a sense of inner peace and a passion to bring that peace to others. Concordia taught me to question everything as hard as I could, and then love it all even harder. So, I questioned and realized that I had been defined by my privilege and my purpose more than I would ever be defined by my luck.

With privilege, I was given a predetermined opportunity to lead. With purpose, instilled in me by my family and by my college, I was given the mind and capacity to lead the charge toward equality in all its forms. Our circumstances do not occur by surprise or chance. They occur by a precise alignment of privilege and purpose to create a person bound for greatness.

We have all been given this privilege and this purpose. Each and every one of us in our own way is already set to change the world. But, no matter how intentional it may be, realizing the possibilities that await me truly makes me feel like the luckiest kid in the world.

Colin Sullivan

My name is Colin Sullivan and I am currently a senior at Concordia College majoring in Psychology, Sociology, and Spanish. Along with my classes, I am the co-President of the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) and also participate in Student Government Association (SGA), Cobber Forensics (Speech and Debate), and Choir. My passions reside within issues of social justice and critically analyzing the ways in which Concordia and society on the whole supports diversity initiatives. I long for an environment within which one's minority status does not pre-determine their likelihood for success. Some other random facts about me: I am a Pisces with an inability to digest gluten. I have a debilitating fear of clowns and public restrooms and refuse to ride bicycles. I am 100% Irish, a recovering scarf addict, and my speaking voice is as loud as the average yell. Please e-mail me at csulliva@cord.edu or tweet me @csulliva09 if you want to chat. I'd love to answer any questions you may have 🙂

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