As I sit on the steps of Scharbauer Hall, watching the sun’s golden rays dance on Frog Fountain, I can’t help but feel a lump rising in my throat. The sun falls behind the Brown-Lupton University Union, and I suddenly realize my time at TCU is also drawing to a close. I’ve learned so much since I first began the daunting journey called college four years ago.
It all began with Frog Camp. I never knew three days could have such an impact on my life.
When I first arrived at Frog Camp Casa Nueva B in summer 2006, I was terrified. I didn’t know a soul and wasn’t sure how I would fare three days away from home without my cell phone. As soon as my bus pulled out of the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum parking lot, I began to have second thoughts about putting my life in the hands of these reptile-loving maniacs.
When we reached the hotel, a sea of upperclassmen facilitators and faculty members in bright red T-shirts greeted us by jumping like frogs on steroids in front of the buses and banging on the bus windows. I feared that if I got off the bus, I would be trampled. I could already see the headlines: “Already-short freshman crushed by crowd, now shorter than 4 feet tall.” Nevertheless, I timidly stepped off. The roar of the facilitators’ clapping and shouting was deafening. Rather than attacking me like an army, however, the facilitators started giving me as many high-fives and hugs as possible. People I had not even met embraced me like a younger sister coming back from a long vacation. From that moment on, I began to feel like part of the Horned Frog family.
That experience set a precedent for the rest of my time at TCU. It gave me the first glimpse of what it really means to be a Horned Frog.
TCU is more than yellow-brick buildings, concrete sidewalks and a strange mascot. It has more than a reputation for academic excellence and a nationally-ranked football team. The thing that makes TCU special isn’t actually a thing at all – it’s the people.
Any university can claim top-notch educational quality, state-of-the art facilities or opportunities to “live, learn and grow.” Few, however, can demonstrate the extraordinary, unmistakable sense of community that defines TCU.
My TCU experience is undoubtedly dotted with a range of unforgettable moments, but strangely enough, one thing links them all together: people. It’s not the A I got on a test after a rigorous all-nighter that I’ll remember. It’s the library study parties with four of my classmates that will hold a special place in my heart. I won’t recall the endless hours I spent merging pictures and video in the Convergence Center, putting together the TCU News Now newscast. I’ll have snapshots of travelling across the world with my professors and classmates for study abroad and Model UN, learning what it means to be a participant in the global community. Running to and from more than 20 different organizations’ meetings will fade from my memory. Midnight walks around campus with my best friends won’t. Grades are important. Campus involvement is significant. But relationships are crucial. While TCU has provided me with a phenomenal education and unparalleled opportunities for hands-on experience, the most influential thing TCU has taught me is the importance of forming lasting relationships.
To the students lucky enough to have another year (or two or three or four or more) left at TCU (come on people, get your act together), I advise you to make the most of your time here, seize every opportunity and immerse yourself in the TCU community. I’d do anything to be in your place right now.
And to those of you who, like me, must move on to the next phase of our lives, remember the lessons you have learned here. Let’s not let our legacies crumble like the old Main. May they live on in the lives of the people that we impacted and the relationships we formed within our Horned Frog family.
Christina Durano is a senior broadcast journalism major from Albuquerque, N.M.