It’s hard to recall memories in terms other than as momentous occasions. Our brains have this perception that our most pleasant remembrances should be embellished and compiled into montages complete with moving audio backtracking. And yet, this is not how I will remember this university. Certainly, it is something great and magnificent and has offered me a fantastic background for whatever career I choose in the future. It has been four years filled with the liberal arts, an expansive acquisition of knowledge and multiple opportunities to meet students and faculty members from a variety of backgrounds. While this sounds like a stage-setting opportunity to stroll down that tree-lined path of nostalgia, veer before you’re caught with a string quartet lulling you along with Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
What I will remember most is laughter: gaudy laughter, sincere, earnest jarring belts of laughter. Stifled giggling, snorts and guffaws will roll about in my memory as well. Before the demolition of the parking lot between Colby and Milton (also known as “Shacker’s Way”) and as an antecedent to the construction of the Campus Commons, and even after I most likely stumble across the purple stage, it will be these riotous and outrageous moments of hilarity that will remain with me.
I failed to understand the importance of this until this last, final year. It was the word “last,” and the finality of it all which struck me. Never again would I be in college and never again would I be surrounded by these people. My first three years were widely spent accumulating responsibility and studying an incredible amount (including Saturday mornings before football games). Ambitious was something I aspired to be and succeeded in achieving. It was after these five hard-fought semesters that I spent a rather different spring in Spain. While the challenges of being immersed in a language were obvious, it was the mentality and lifestyle which helped contribute to my newfound mentality.
Upon return, I was first disillusioned with the American way of life, but as soon as my friends returned from the summer, I returned to an understanding and true appreciation of the merits of TCU. With all of its opportunities and connections and outstanding faculty and staff, it is the daily aspects of going to school here which have made it so memorable. Smiles and a “howdy” are easy to be found in Texas, and in Fort Worth they are even more likely to be thrown your way. It is this bright outlook of the student body which finds itself as an infectious aspect.
I think of a professor who held a day for students to “air grievances.” Despite the criticisms, he smiled the entire time. Additionally, the analyses were delivered in poetry form and with cupcakes, lightening the load of any discontent. I think of my roommates who attended my thesis presentation and broke the silence of “Any last questions?” with a rhetorical inquiry about whether our kitchen table could once again be used as an eating area instead of the sloppy desk that housed all of my papers. I think of travelling to New Orleans, Florida, Colorado, Argentina and London, things that I would never have gotten to do were it not for the relationships I had made at this university. I think about the stories I will be able to share with future friends and reminisce upon with past friends at points of reunion.
When you think back on college, it will not be a visual decoupage of memories but poignant moments of both achievement and adventure. While it is certainly important to study and prepare, the merits of these things will be intermingled with the carousing you’ve done over the past four years. I think of this past weekend, playing softball for five hours in the pouring rain, covered in mud. I know that the laughter will continue to resound for years to come, and each bout will be fitful and unique, followed by a smile and thought of “Go Frogs.”
Matt Boaz is a senior political science major from Edmond, Okla.