I could begin this article like every valedictorian speech: a loud, ringing, smiley, “we did it” flying out of my face for all to hear. Instead, I feel like asking myself a question. What have I done with these years?
As I enter my senior year with 700 other people I think about the ways we have changed. Superficially we have gone from our young, childlike, high school, Hollister-clad selves to the people we are now: Babel-listening, paper-writing, flannel-wearing college seniors.
I remember walking into summer orientation on June 6th discussing how I obviously wanted to be a music teacher, like almost everyone else in the room with me. Except for the folks who wanted to be doctors of course. The “winds of change” ice breaker is still vivid in my mind. Fast forward to August 29th (I think), our move-in day was, like always, so hot that my freshman roommate’s dad and I threatened to take off our shirts, which trust me is a threat. We had our two hours of bonding time and then we rushed off to Memorial at 4PM (Remember your id!) to meet our orientation club. These things shaped my whole first year here.
I have learned that having an opinion is only important if you stick to it, and that having a voice, no matter how many people hear it, is also important. At Concordia we make jokes about BREWing, but the core value of the message has actually become very important to me. Becoming responsibly engaged in the world is the first step to making a difference, and if there is anything I have learned from being around my fellow Cobbers it is that we not only strive to make a difference but need to.
If I could pass anything on as a senior it is that you need to have fun, but also take in what you hear. Go to all the trivia nights, bingos, Acoustic Buzzes, sports games, clubs, comedy nights, and anything in between. Go with your floor, go with your club, go with some random person you met in DS on a Tuesday/Thursday lunch rush. Go to class and instead of shouting about why anyone should be right or wrong, learn why your reading takes the stance it takes. Take a class that has literally nothing to do with your major/minor and challenge yourself to think differently. Take what you’re passionate about, find someone else equally passionate, and do something.
You have four years here. Make the most of it.
Katelyn Henagin graduated from Pierz-Healy High School in 2010, and grew up in both Pierz and Worthington, Minnesota. She is graduating in 2014 with a Philosophy Major and a minor in Psychology. If you feel like talking to Katelyn, striking up a conversation about Harry Potter is always a good choice.