How does a person become a Cobber? And how should their excitement over a ring be reflected online?
In light of Cobber Ring Day, I found myself thinking over these questions. There were a variety of reactions online on Friday, both positive and negative. I plan to get a ring, and yet I find myself critical of the festivities and the accompanying comments on social media. I read numerous Facebook posts on Ring Day of classmates declaring themselves to “finally” or “officially” be a “true Cobber”, a part of Concordia’s family, and a part of the community, etc.
These comments are fascinating to me. What is it about getting the ring that makes a student finally feel like a Cobber? Did these people not feel like a part of campus until they weighed down their finger with a piece of metal?
I saw many posts on Facebook of friends exclaiming their happiness at having such a tangible representation of being a part of the community. I also saw posts that supported the excitement of friends with rings while pointing out the exclusiveness of the celebration. I agree with these posts – while the celebration did so unintentionally, it may have criticized students who had chosen not to get a ring, couldn’t afford ring, or were somehow prevented from getting a ring. Even if I had comfortably decided against getting a ring, I would have been embarrassed or uncomfortable walking through Knutson and not being able to participate in the celebration of being a Cobber. As it was, I was embarrassed to read the less thoughtful posts online.
So what is it about wearing the ring that makes a person feel like a Cobber?
I can’t help but to compare the comments I’m seeing to personal religious stories. When was the hour that you first believed? When was the moment that you first felt like a Cobber?
For me, becoming a Cobber was a process, not a moment. It required more than getting my acceptance letter or moving in. Becoming a Cobber also included turning in my first huge paper, returning for second semester, feeling like I knew the ropes by sophomore year, joining clubs, performing in Christmas concerts, and similar experiences. While each of these and other moments have been important to me, I could ignore any one of these specific moments and I would still feel like a Cobber.
Similarly, when I think about celebrating becoming a Cobber, I will not think about the day I get a ring on my hand. I will think about the process.
The majority of Concordia students spend the majority of their time on campus without rings. There are not enough transfer students to offset the number of students who graduate early or even on-time. We get our rings, at earliest, part way through junior year. Why, then, must we wear rings to officially be Cobbers? Why are we celebrating becoming Cobbers or joining the Concordia tradition in the middle of the journey as though it were either the beginning or the end?
I plan to get a ring during my senior year, but to not wear it much (if at all) until I graduate. If I am wearing my ring as a physical representation of my accomplishments and memories, why would I need it to remind me of what is still happening? Besides, I have a high school class ring to wear out.
I do not criticize others for wearing their rings while still being students or for celebrating the day they got their rings. I do suggest to my fellow students to critically think about why they have gotten a ring and to authentically represent that, especially online. It is a representation of Concordia’s community. Acquiring a ring can be the moment that finally makes a person feel like a Cobber, but then there can be no other such moment. Think twice about the sincerity and meaning behind your words before posting on social media.
This article was submitted by Brittney Bublitz, contributing writer.