As some or none of you may know, I am leaving Concordia next fall. I will be transferring to NDSU for a handful of reasons, but I will always be a Cobber. The values and virtues I have accrued in my time as a Concordia student are staples in my personality and will stay with me, shaping who I am as a person, for the rest of my life. Today I write not to discuss some micro-aggression that women face or the major issue of sexual assault on college campuses but to sing the praises of this school that I have fallen very, very hard for.
My time at Concordia taught me many things. I learned about ancient Greek prostitutes, the importance of the oxford comma, and how to write counterpoint. I learned how to juggle two majors and three co-curricular activities. I learned how to start a club. I learned how to articulate my feelings in a well-educated way. I learned about the history of the Bible and the importance of listening. I learned how to stick to a sleep schedule and how to cram for an exam. I learned how important support is.
Concordia taught me more than what I learned in my classes, though. I learned how to draw strong connections between multiple fields of study. I learned how to manipulate a degree in something some would call “useless” (theatre, music, women and gender studies, etc.) and create an education that will keep me in comfort for all my days. I learned that there is nothing more important than being present. I learned to BREW.
On my second day at Concordia, I went on a field trip to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center in Fargo and helped poster for the Take Back the Night rally that they were sponsoring. My orientation club, there for “Hands for Change Day,” was a ragtag group of scientists, artists, athletes, and historians studying “Ancient Gender and Sexuality.” We sat in the conference room of the center with Nancy, the volunteer coordinator, and discussed the importance of what we had just done.
At the time, as I sat there winded and tired, I thought all that we had done was walked a bunch for no reason. I was wrong. Nancy stood before us, telling us about the numbers of people who find shelter and support at the center, and I learned an invaluable lesson: doing nothing doesn’t change things; doing something, no matter how small, does. It was in that navy blue rolling chair that I realized how important it was to engage in the world. The postering we did in downtown Fargo probably didn’t save any lives or do any permanent damage in the problem of rape. But it taught each and every one of us self- involved young people how blessed we really were. It sparked conversations and discussions of how to fix the larger problem of rape and abuse. It engendered in me a desire to make a change, to speak up, and to responsibly engage in the world.
This ideology, to responsibly engage in the world, is the cornerstone of Concordia’s mission and is paramount in the creation of citizens who won’t sit by, complacent and complicit with the injustices around us. Becoming responsibly engaged in the world means that we are becoming opinionated, strong young people who will speak up against oppression and unfairness. We, the future of the world, are being taught at Concordia to hold each other with the highest regard, to celebrate brilliance, to discuss ideolo- gies, and to change the world. We are encouraged to be amazing at Concordia and to bring that wisdom out into the community. And that is paramount to creating the world we want to live in.
We, my fellow Cobbers, are lucky enough to be the students who learn from teachers in every discipline and who are taught to create dialogue and ask questions. We are privileged enough to be the few who get to go to this beautiful school and learn from its brilliant faculty. We are fortunate enough to go to a school that has administrators like President Craft and Bruce Vieweg who care more deeply and passionately about their students than any person I’ve ever met. We are blessed to go to this school.
I will miss the hallowed halls of Bishop Whipple and Old Main. I will miss the quiet stacks on the fourth floor of the library. I will miss this place but I will keep with me the importance of its mission regardless of where the rest of my education takes me. As I write this, sitting in my cozy Brown Hall dorm, looking out the window at the setting sun shining against Knutson, I raise my mug of tea in a toast to Concordia: to the school that makes its students ask questions and find answers. To the school that demands the most from its students and gives its best in return. To Maize fries and the amazing memories I’ve made here. To chicken nugget night in DS. To the school that changed my life. To the school that taught me to be pas- sionate. To becoming responsibly engaged in the world. To Concordia. Thank you for all the wisdom you’ve given me and may you give it to many, many more.
Natalie Dulka is a sophomore English Writing and Theatre Art double major from Minneapolis, MN. She keeps herself occupied by holding the position of Chief Executive Officer of Feminism Club, being involved with the theater, and writing plays. Her passions include sarcasm, wool socks, and equality.