As an English major, I would be careless if I did not use a poem to describe my experience in college:
“If things had happened differently
Maine or upper Michigan
might have given me a sense of place…
But as it is, the only thing that gives me a sense of place is this upholstered chair,
with its dark brown covers,
angled into a room near a corner window.”
Billy Collins’ “A Sense of Place” perfectly describes what my life was at Bradley University.
If I had gone to another school I had applied to, like Truman State University or Saint Louis University, I would have had a far different experience.
Maybe I would have written for their newspapers, or maybe I would have rushed a fraternity in my freshman year.
But I chose Bradley, and I have no regrets about that choice. I may not sit in a chair with dark brown covers, but instead a green and tan couch in my St. James apartment.
Maybe I wouldn’t have been an English major. Maybe I would have focused on history or communications. But this is what I chose, and it has given me an education that will prove invaluable in wherever my life takes me.
If I hadn’t chosen Bradley, there is no guarantee I would have spent all of fall 2010 in London, experiencing a semester that will never be forgotten.
If I hadn’t chosen Bradley, there is no way of knowing if I would have written about TV shows like The Client List or Downton Abbey, and I may not have written about the 500th episode of The Simpsons or the 45th anniversary of Star Trek. The Scout gave me those opportunities. And the Scout only exists at Bradley University.
For the next few months, my sole interests are watching the St. Louis Blues finally win the Stanley Cup, going to Basket Case to sing some last karaoke songs, and finding a real job that will lead to the rest of my life.
I have control over those last two, and Bradley has prepared me for that. The Blues don’t need my help to win more hockey games.
It would be a cliché to say I am at a crossroads of my life, but it is also the truth. I do not know what the future holds. I do not know where I will be living in one year’s time.
But whatever happens, I know that the education I have received, the attention of my professors and the support of my friends will lead me to wherever I am going.
More than anything, I have to remember and thank the Scout for the past year. Pop culture has always been a favorite topic of mine.
Getting to write about it, week after week, was a joy, even if it would mean delivering newspapers early in the morning or watching terrible television like The Celebrity Apprentice.
I have two recommendations for underclassmen: First, study abroad. Experience a culture that is foreign to you and you’ll learn a lot about the world and yourself.
Second, find something you enjoy and do it here while you can. Make sure that you’ll miss something about Bradley when you’re gone.
If you can do that, you will have no regrets about your four years here.