Miles Tiemeyer is a senior Philosophy, Politics and the Public major. He is a guest writer from Cincinnati, Oh.
When I was a sophomore in high school, my mom told me that we should go on a college visit over spring break so that I “wouldn’t fall in love with the first place I visited.” So we decided to visit Xavier and sure enough, I thought she was right, I fell in love with campus. At first, I thought that my mom was correct, I fell love with college, not Xavier. So, as I continued on in my high school career, I visited more colleges including Miami, Ohio State, and yes, even UC. Nowhere I went even compared to Xavier. I never felt any sense of community. I had to visit Xavier again, this time in the pouring rain.
But the community, while slightly damp, was the same. People held doors for one another, and everyone was constantly saying hi to one another as they walked around. It felt like a place where I could belong. I thought my tour guide must have been popular and I know that so many incoming first year students and upperclassmen felt that same way.
There is something special about this place. Xavier is a place that all of us have chosen to call a home. Just like a home, there are good days and there are bad days. You will have highs like Xavier Fest, your first Alternative Breaks trip and forming new relationships. There will also be lows with hard classes, tested friendships and being woken up by the Brockman fire alarm (yes, even if you don’t live in Brockman). The thing that makes Xavier a special place is that no matter if you are having your worst day of the semester, or your best, there will always be someone there to hold the door for you or to give you a smile.
One of our biggest values here at Xavier is Curas Personalis, or care for the whole person. This Jesuit value has a lot of meaning for the university as an institution. For them, it means investing in academics, physical well-being, mental health, career services and many, many other things. For us as a campus community, it means being there for one another. It is respecting your friends’ choices when they have to take time for self-care. It is supporting a friend on a club sports team. It is eating lunch with a friend that you know may be struggling. All of these things and more are what make the Xavier community so special. There is a unique sense of us.
We are a community of unique individuals. That is the first line of the student commitment. No matter what we do as a community, we never lose our uniqueness. As the student commitment says, we will learn together, serve together, and we will succeed in changing the world together. While these may seem like very lofty goals, in my short time here I have seen students and alumni, young and old, do amazing things. What all of these people have in common is that they did it together. When we learn, serve and seek change together we become more than ourselves, we come together to become more. Our Xavier and Jesuit traditions challenge us to do so much but we do not have to go about this alone. Trust me, it can seem overwhelming at times if you try to take it on alone. It can feel lonely and disheartening, but that is when we need our community the most.
The student commitment ends with the line “All for one and one for all.” I’m sure during your time at Xavier, you will hear this explained a dozen different ways by a dozen different people. Let me be one of these people briefly. When we come together we can make a difference for a member of our community and a member of a community can have an impact on all of us.