As I’m sure we can all remember, college decisions can get pretty stressful during one’s final semester of high school. If you were one of the people who chose Harding University right out of the gate, then good for you. I was not. That being said, I was feeling a little uneasy as the days before graduation ticked away. This confused, anxious Michael is the one who stepped onto campus for Bison Days in March 2016.
During my visit, I sat in on several classes. The most memorable one was chorus. The group welcomed me and cheered as my dad and I introduced ourselves. After they
sang a few songs, Dr. Ganus offered to let me sing with the chorus. Hard pass on my part; no way was I going to embarrass myself in front of these guys.
Nonetheless, I had a blast listening to them, and afterward, one of the students came up and introduced himself to us. His name was Aaron Young, and he was a senior from northwest Arkansas like me. Aaron escorted us to the cafeteria and ate lunch with us, all the while discussing various restaurants, high-school rivalries and other things pertinent to those from our corner of the world. We parted ways after lunch, and I didn’t expect to run into him again. Little did I know he would be a host when I returned for Spring Sing a few weeks later. I was blown away; I had eaten lunch with someone I figured must be a Harding celebrity. He hadn’t even mentioned Spring Sing earlier, but now there he was on stage, and he had hung out with me.
After the show, we saw each other in the crowd, and get this: he recognized me and talked briefly with me while also receiving all the adulations that come with the post-Spring Sing frenzy. In hindsight, I understand that this was no big deal to a guy like Aaron. Being a Spring Sing host does not necessarily elevate one to star- status, but still, it does mean something that a busy senior in the midst of his final semester would take time out of his day to make a newcomer like me feel welcome.
I’m not going to say Aaron is the reason I came to Harding, but his willingness to invest in the next generation of Bisons certainly helped. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a story like this. We all know an older person whose attention and time, which to them may seem insignificant, made us feel cool and important. Last week, I saw numerous highschoolers walking around campus, and they made me think of Aaron. How do we tackle the enrollment problem? Look right in front of you. Every one of these kids is being cajoled by a number of universities, each attempting to show what makes it the superior college.
Personally, I think Harding has an edge on all of these schools, and it stems from the communal atmosphere which the people at Harding can provide. When we are intentional with our interactions, we can make the days of so many visiting students, and what’s more, we can impact their lives.This should not be taken lightly, nor does it only apply to visiting students, but rather, we can invest this time in other students, staff, faculty and the world outside of campus.
All it takes is for us to smile and introduce ourselves. The rest will work itself out from there.