There are very few things in life that are certain. Many people say nothing is certain, but I’d have to disagree. In my short 21 years on this earth, I like to think I’ve learned a few things. Most of the life lessons I have learned, however, have taken place in the past two years, since I began writing articles for this newspaper.
Writing articles forces a person to talk to people: to grieving faculty members, to UGBC presidents, to marathon supporters, to nurses on the night shift. I know I’ve learned more about Boston College—and life in general—from these people than I ever will in the confines of a classroom.
In the end, people are what write BC’s narrative in the first place. They change its character and meaning from year to year, shaping the University’s identity. Due to the people who attend and run BC, the institution has morphed from an all-male, Irish-Catholic, mostly local college to the (arguably) diverse, international university it is today. If you don’t take the time to know the people at BC, you’ll never really know what this school is about.
After two years of learning about the people here—listening to their stories and retelling them for the pages of this paper—I can say there are a few things I now know for certain:
I know that there will always be Mac and Cheese in the Rat on Thursdays because of the countless interviews I have conducted there.
I know that the buses never run according to the schedules posted on all of the bus stops because of the many times I have been late for interviews.
I know that discovering you live in the same state as someone else will inevitably give you some common ground and set you up for a successful conversation.
I know students at BC are obsessed with talking about their study abroad experiences, because of all of the opinions columns I have read on the subject.
I know that the BC Bubble isn’t invincible, and is best popped by taking trips into the city that don’t include Newbury Street and Copley Square.
I know that social media is not necessary to be professionally or socially successful.
I know that most professors at this school dislike having their picture taken because of all of the times I’ve had to beg them to let me print their photo in the paper.
I know that the Mods were transported to their positions by helicopter, and that the Rat used to be a pub where professors and students could converse and learn more than what is possible in a classroom setting.
I know that stereotyping is the worst thing you can do upon meeting people, because you are writing their story for them.
I know that if you stop looking away from all of your acquaintances, you’ll have a lot more friends.
I know that there is more to BC and the people that it consists of than I will ever be able to know.
Admittedly, the idea of compiling a list of things I know for certain is not an original idea of mine. I stole it from a good friend who sent email updates while she was studying abroad, reflecting on her time away from BC. I could tell through her emails that this form of reflection was helping her make the most of her experiences, because she was realizing the value in everything she did.
Maybe you know some of these things I’ve listed as well, but I’ve had the privilege of learning these things straight from the sources. One of my professors says that the best way to learn is to “do your own learning,” meaning that the information spewed forth by a professor to students during a lecture will only stick with them for a limited amount of time, just like the facts that I spewed at you will probably be forgotten because you’re simply reading them.
Those things I have learned will never be forgotten by me, however, because I did the learning myself. I talked to dozens of people on and off this campus, ensuring that those experiences will forever shape me moving forward.
Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff