I was always told that red-headed babies were supposed to be special. An overzealous fan once screamed that phrase at me during a high school basketball game I was refereeing in, and, as I reflect on my time here at TCU, I realize it is an appropriate theme.
Like most graduating seniors, I find it hard to believe just how quickly the last four years have gone. It seems like yesterday that I received my acceptance letter in the mail, arrived at orientation, stepped off the bus at Frog Camp, and trembled as I stepped into my first General Chemistry class at 9 a.m. on my first Monday morning.
Yet with graduation looming, trying to condense four years into a single column is all but impossible. It has been one heck of a ride, one I would not trade for anything. Along the way, I have become TCU’s most hated intramural official. I have worked in orientation and Frog Camp. I have worked and traveled with the nation’s No. 2 football team — but No. 1 in my heart. I have completed the rigors of one of the most difficult pre-medical curriculums around, and I have been accepted into medical school.
Do not get me wrong, all of that is fine and good, but what I will remember most after graduation is not the accomplishments or the list of achievements, but the people who helped me get there.
When I was preparing for my first summer as an Orientation Student Assistant, Kay Higgins, one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met, gave us a tour of campus one afternoon. All was quiet, and the campus was empty due to the summer holiday. At the end of the tour, she sat us down in front of the Founders Statue and asked us to look around and take in all the scenery, and she pointed out all the names on the buildings, such as Sid Richardson, Amon Carter, etc. She said one of the most profound things I have heard at TCU, that each of those names believed in “the TCU experience,” and the moment remains one of my favorite.
As the sun sets on my own TCU experience, I now fully understand what she meant. Many have made great sacrifices for TCU because they believed in what it could be and what it could mean for students who attended it. In short, they all believed it could be special. As I graduate, I realize it is not my accomplishments or achievements that have made it special. It has been my TCU experience as a whole and each of the wonderful people I have met along the way.
I will remember long nights at Whataburger discussing a rule interpretation from that night of intramurals. I will remember staying all night in the library writing a paper due the next day while really goofing around with close friends. Mostly, I will remember the amazing atmosphere and warmness of TCU, a place that truly has been “home” for the last four years. My experience at TCU is almost over, but I will take everything I learned with me for the rest of my life. I would not change any part of it, for it has made me the person I am today, and I am eternally grateful for that.
My advice to all undergrads is simple: make your own TCU experience. Make friends with the chancellor. Play racquetball with a professor. Be a Frog Camp facilitator. Have a conversation with Denise Bennett — it will change your life. Swim in Frog Fountain at least once. Most importantly, do what you love to do, and cherish every second of it. Live in the moment, because TCU has put the world at your fingertips.
And that is what makes it special.
Shane Rainey is a senior chemistry major from Fort Worth.