Suspension is a pretty serious consequence given to students for their actions. The suspended students are the “troublemakers,” the “bad eggs,” the “ones who think they’re above the rules,” right? Before I go any further, I’ll say that being suspended was the last thing on my agenda coming into Harding. To clear things up, this story is not meant to highlight why I was suspended but to show what it’s like to be suspended.
Throughout my life, I moved quite a bit. I was born in Kentucky and lived in Texas twice, Tennessee twice and moved to Searcy in 9th grade. I felt like the new guy, regardless of how long I had lived somewhere because moving was something I had done multiple times. Being new gave me every reason to avoid getting into trouble. Who wants to be the risk-taking new guy? I certainly didn’t.
College was the first time in my life I didn’t feel like the new guy. I could express myself in ways I hadn’t before, because I was in the same boat as all the other freshmen. I have always cared about my grades, but I would regret my time at Harding if I spent all my time studying.
Let’s skip to the fall of 2015, my sophomore year. By this point, I had gotten to know a number of people and had even been in a social club for a year. I had a solid group of friends, and I’ll admit, my main focus was not school at this time. Dead week rolled around and several friends and I decided we hadn’t pulled enough pranks for the semester. I’ll save the details for another day —we received one full year of probation starting in the spring.
January 18,2016 is a date that is ingrained in my mind. Why? It’s the day I got in trouble again. You must be thinking, “This guy was dumb enough to do something else after already getting put on year-long probation?” You wouldn’t be wrong to assume so. A simple prank worthy of a warning or a fine quickly turned into a suspension. Happy birthday to me —I turned 20 just a few days after being suspended.
If you aren’t familiar with being suspended, I’ll tell you this bit of information —the deans discuss the situation and make a decision as soon as they process everything. You have the ability to appeal your punishment in front of a committee; however they have the option to give you a more severe punishment if they believe your current status is too light. I chose not to appeal my suspension.
If you want to know what suspension is like, all you need to know is one rule: you are banned from campus unless granted permission. You may be thinking, “What a hassle. I’d have to ask the deans for permission each time I want to hang out with my friends on campus?” To clarify, the only permission granted is formal, meaning you can’t step foot on campus for any casual reason.
I remember wishing I lived in another state so I could just go home for the semester, hundreds of miles away and forget about Harding. I actually got to the point where I dreaded asking my friends to hang out off campus because I didn’t want to bother them. I spent a lot more time working at Lowe’s Home Improvement that semester than I spent with my friends.
Suspension gave me the opportunity to reflect for an entire semester; however, I would redo things if I had the chance. I lost valuable time with the people I care for most. Being banned from campus is a rule I hope the deans will consider changing someday. I’m not here to argue whether I deserved the punishment I received. I realize that suspension is meant to correct behavior, but I felt alone that semester, and the people who influenced my life in the best ways were in a place I couldn’t be.