Hey, kids… I’m out of town this week. Finally taking that vacation I’ve been thinking about for eight years. Anyway, while I’m gone some friends have agreed to write some guest posts for my blog. Today’s post comes from Paul. I asked him the question, what is one experience that has shaped the person you are today?
They say that university changes you. This is true. But for me, I didn’t really feel a change until second year. Yeah, in Canada we refer to our sophomore year as second year. We like to count, eh.
My first year at university was good and everything, but I felt like I was a high school student in the setting of a university campus. Despite all the differences, I never really felt different internally.
Going back for my second year, I really wanted it to see a change. I wanted to do more. I wanted to make a difference. And returning to living in residence, I thought that would give me the perfect opportunity to take the first-year students under my wing (armpit?) and help guide them.
Well, I got back to school and spent the first week hanging out with my friends from first year and ignoring all 50 people that lived on my floor. Friday rolled around and I remember feeling helpless.
I would hear people in the hallway laughing and having a good time with people they just met four days ago. I sat in my room wondering why I couldn’t be just like that. Why couldn’t I be part of that group? I was too introverted and shy to just throw myself in front of a slew of random people and proclaim my existence.
And then something happened.
I got a knock at my door and was met by about fifteen people. It was like answering the door on Halloween only they gave me the treat. They asked if I wanted to go to dinner with them. I said, yes. And the rest is history.
How ironic. The first-year students pulled the second-year student out of his room. The roles should’ve been reversed.
Instantly, I felt a connection with these people. I still remember the walk down to the cafeteria and standing in line for food and sitting at the table talking about what I already knew about university, and what they should know.
That was six years ago and it’s as fresh in my mind now, as what I ate this morning.
I had waffles this morning.
My floormates that year changed my life. I had never been so close to a group of people before. Maybe it’s because we were forced to see each other at all hours of the day? I don’t know.
But by the start of October, we were all way too comfortable with each other. We were brothers and sisters who spent most of our time laughing and poking fun at each other, while pulling pranks and partaking in too many shenanigans to list.
Every day was a good day. Every day was a fun day.
I finally felt different. I finally felt like I was myself and not just a person who was at school because they had to be at school. All of a sudden I had an immense level of confidence that I never knew existed within me.
Ever since I was in elementary school, teachers said that I had to come out of my shell. As if I was a turtle and heaven forbid I ever get flipped over. That would be the end.
Well, I guess I finally came out of my shell in second year.
What we had on that floor was special. It was truly special. We would travel in a group of anywhere between 20-30 to go eat dinner every night.
Think about that. 20-30 people eating dinner with each other on a regular basis. And everyone at the table was comfortable talking to everyone else. I know, this sounds like some voodoo nonsense, but it was real life. It was incredible.
The end of the year arrived too soon and I was incredibly sad about it. How do you say bye to people who brought out the best in you? I knew we’d all see each other again and remain in touch, but it would never be the same.
That year changed my life. I’m forever indebted to the people who decided to knock on my door and invite me to dinner. It was a small gesture that I’m sure they have all forgotten by now, but I’ll never forget it.
Six years later, these people remain in my life but at varying degrees. We all broke off into our smaller groups within the group, but will always be connected.
We were a family and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for them.
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Read more from Paul on his blog, The Captain’s Speech. Paul hasn’t been to the movies since 2012 and has been told that he eats his sandwich upside down. He is a huge sports fan and a closet viewer of The Bachelor. Paul enjoys a good chocolate sundae from Dairy Queen and is easily frustrated by YouTube videos that have advertisements that cannot be skipped (who isn’t?).