This year I played the classic game — as an upperclassman, active club member and beau — of trying to get out of Spring Sing. My friends and I agreed on a rule: If I’m old enough to be applying for grad school and looking at potential in-field jobs, I should not have to be expected to run around on a stage and get all sweaty. It’s funny being an upperclassman now, seeing who still wears their jerseys, who still gets really into club or intramural sports and who still wears their club or team merch. Don’t you have anything better to do, like school?
As I get older, it feels sillier and sillier to wear my jersey on Fridays, to dress up in purple and green when we beaux or to get my eyeliner done for Spring Sing. In the past, I’d have been willing to change everything about myself to wear a goofy uniform and fit into a silly little club, but when I found those groups here, I didn’t have to change a thing about myself. I wonder why some people will now change everything about themselves to no longer associate with something they previously held so dear.
It feels almost like the secret of Santa Claus. Everyone loves Santa as a child and will change their behavior to be visited by him. (Though few parents are heartless enough to withhold presents from disobedient children on Christmas). Once a child finds out Santa isn’t real, they abhor anything that has to do with fairy tales or the fun stories of Christmas. After this, people have a spectrum of where they can end up. They can be like Dorey Walker from “Miracle on 34th Street,” who tells every child in sight that Santa isn’t real; or they can simply acknowledge that the legend of Santa Claus is fun but false and move on with their merry lives; or they can contribute to bringing the same feeling to others that they themselves felt when they first believed, a belief not in the legend, but replacing magic in the legend of Santa with the faith and generosity of St. Nicholas. In doing so, they teach others to have the capacity for generosity and love.
Naturally, no organization is perfect, nor any family. Of course, when I am involved in my club, it’s going to take me away from “more important” things like my closest friends, job or schoolwork. When I was a part of the Student Association my sophomore year, it wasn’t my own motivation that made me active and passionate about what I was doing, but Ethan Brazell, a senior who spent time with me and helped me foster my gifts. My freshman and sophomore years, I wasn’t active in my social clubs because of myself and my pledge class alone, but because of my friends like Maddy, Coleman and Sam, juniors and seniors who invited me to things and gave me rides there. They didn’t just pass me the torch, but they held onto it with me, and we would both enjoy — in different capacities — what it meant to be a part of the groups we were in. It would be a shame to them, and a disservice to those who are younger than I, to avoid wearing my jersey. Perhaps, in my season of life, when I’m looking at jobs and applying to grad school, there is nothing more meaningful I could do than invest in what I do and who I look up to.