Perhaps there is a reason that people refer to college as a higher education. I think of all that I’ve learned from going away to school. When I reflect on this first year at Central Michigan University, I can only compare my education to the amazing new perspectives that I get when reaching the top of a mountain hike. The journey is equal parts challenging and rewarding.
From the beginning, I was never alone. There was someone right there with me the whole time to guide careful steps and to warn me of danger. Whether it was the person’s job to do so or it was just their desire to help me, someone was there from day one. With each day came learning opportunities. There were so many lessons handed to me that sometimes it got hard to remember them all or keep track of when they were useful. However, some of the biggest lessons were the ones that I had to learn on my own. No matter how much anyone tried to help me, experience was the teacher that trumped all in the ability to teach resounding lessons.
Along the way, I met incredible people. There were some from so far away, that I was amazed they made the journey just to get here. I loved to hear their past experiences and to be inspired by their plans for the future. When I am not certain where I can go next, it has always been handy to get ideas from other’s successes. It is easy to see why people come so far. Their amazing attitudes simply recycle and improve the welcoming and positive environment that already exists.
When things got tough, there were several options. But for some reason, I always wanted to handle challenges on my own. I have always found it hard to ask for help with personal struggles. I never wanted people to see me fall but I loved to show off what I could accomplish. Sometimes, it just wasn’t possible to make it to a point to show off without letting someone see me fall. Fortunately, the person who sees me fall was always able to help me up. Then, when I move on, we are both able to celebrate a point to show off.
In the end, it is humbling, breathtaking, and empowering to see how far myself and others have come. This is certainly a fresh, new view on the world around me.
I wrote out a quick reflection that roughly summed up how I was feeling after my first climbing trip:
Each time I reach the top,
every twisted ankle,
pain in my knee,
ache in my achilles,
breathless water break,
and drop of sweat
that had accumulated along the way
and blows away
like the clouds
as I watch them hit the peeks of the mountains.
Looking back on what I wrote now, I have a very similar feeling. My first year of college was hard. It wasn’t always easy to see the point in everything. Once I was able to collect myself, my thoughts, and my purpose, I could watch my worries dissipate and blow away like the clouds as they hit the peaks of mountains.
If you are from CMU and you are reading this,
I would like to thank you. Thank you for every opportunity so far, every challenge I have faced, and all the help I didn’t really deserve but you gave me anyway. Life would have been a very different journey for me so far if I didn’t go to Central and if I didn’t receive the Leader Advancement Scholarship.