An adventure in being Alice

By: Sabrina Brown

College is a funny thing. Honestly, on the surface, it makes little to no sense. We’re sent off into the “real world” for the first time, given freedom, mounds of schoolwork and a copious number of distractions, and then we’re told to “find ourselves.”

Sounds easy, right?

Well, yes and no. Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear countless people tell you this is the beginning of the rest of your life, that you’re embarking on some great, profound journey.

The truth is that you are. Not profound, so much, but a journey nonetheless. You aren’t Bilbo Baggins or Harry Potter, off on some epic adventure to defeat all great evil. You’ll find that college is a bit more like being Alice, you fall down a rabbit hole, stumble around, get lost and somehow come out a different person on the other side.

If you’re lucky, this “new person” will have found something phenomenal along his or her way: passion.

Passion is what makes the world go ‘round. It’s what makes us human, and it certainly doesn’t come easily or quickly. It will sneak up on you, likely without your permission, and change you to your very core. Passion, true passion, is a terrifying and wonderful little bugger.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Perhaps you found what you’re passionate about in high school, and it will grow unwaveringly throughout your four years at Xavier.

More often than not, though, college shapes who you are, shakes you to your very core, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not know where you’re going, or what’s going to be at the other end of that rabbit hole when you emerge. Xavier, if you let it, can help you figure out what you want to be waiting for you on the other side and who you want to be when you get there.

Xavier is a Jesuit, liberal arts school, meaning we have a core curriculum the size of Texas. A large portion of those classes are designed to make you think about and question the world around you. It may not seem like it when you’re struggling through your 8 a.m. Intro to Philosophy class or dragging yourself to a 3 p.m. Rhetoric class, but at some point, all those readings and papers and “useless” assignments will start to make sense, maybe they’ll even inspire you.

For me, at least, those classes that seemingly had no direct relation to my major or my “career trajectory” have ended up being the classes that stuck with me, classes I wish would never have ended.Maybe that makes me a nerd, but that’s not the issue at hand.

Beyond the classroom, I’ve found that the best thing you can do at Xavier is to get involved around campus. Clubs will welcome you with open arms. Xavier is a community in which each and every person can find a niche; yours should be one that inspires you.

There’s a common term in business known as the triple bottom line. In the business world, it’s used most commonly as a way for companies to feel better about themselves and sleep easier at night. It’s how they attempt to qualify if they’re doing something beyond turning a profit, doing something to benefit the “greater good.”

I’m asking you to use your four years at Xavier to find a sort of triple bottom line. Make no mistake, I am not, in any way, asking you all to become business people. If anything, I may be asking the opposite. I’m asking you to find something that matters more to you than money, than profit, more than a diploma and a degree.

That “triple bottom line” is different for everyone. If everyone were passionate about the same things, we’d live in a terribly strange world.

Find something that makes you tick, something bigger than yourself. If you’re brave enough, let it guide you. Xavier will spend four years telling you to be “men and women for others.” Use your time here, and your time after you leave, to discover what that truly means.

One day, if you’re lucky, you’ll look back and be shocked that you didn’t already know.

Sabrina Brown is the Editor-in- Chief of the Newswire. She is a senior English major with minors in Gender & Diversity Studies, Peace Studies and Business with a Pre-Law focus. She is currently beginning her fourth year of working for the Newswire.