Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I was so close to making a transfer out of Bluefield College and into Radford University. So close I could taste it.
Spring break presented me with an opportunity to take a trip.
Come on, this is me we’re talking about. So that means it’s not the kind of spring break trip that you would see in movies or TV shows where a group of ragtag college students pile into someone’s Tahoe and drive down to Daytona for a week of binge drinking with scantily clad co-eds.
I mean, I don’t think I could even expect to have a Revenge of the Nerds kind of spring break.
Did they have spring break in that movie? I’ll be honest, I never saw it…
Anyway, I mentioned before that I got involved with the Baptist Student Union at Bluefield during the freshman year. It was my only genuine social experience.
Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration. I had friends. I just… I didn’t get out much, okay?
Anyway, the campus minister, Dr. Lyle, decided to put together a little mission trip over spring break that would take students from Bluefield, Virginia, to exotic locations like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. Oh, and Boston.
That’s right. My first experience with a college spring break was in New England.
To say it was cold and snowy is underselling the first week of March in 1999. We hit a pretty substantial blizzard on the drive up. Kids, it was bad. We witnessed a couple of accidents as we drove north in white out conditions.
So what was our mission in New England? That’s actually a really good question. Looking back, I have a hard time remembering. I know we visited and maybe even led worship at the church where Dr. Lyle’s dad was a pastor. In Maine, we connected with a couple of other schools’ BSUs to do some door to door style surveys. The idea may have been that we were trying to get a feel for the community and see if they would be receptive to having a new Baptist church in the area.
All I know for sure is that I had a great time. I got to know a lot of people that I had never really taken the time to get to know and, from that, a lot of great friendships began to form.
At one point, we stopped off in Rockland, Maine for lunch. All around town, we saw banners claiming that it was the “Lobster Capital of the World!” Pretty impressive. So we ate in a little seafood joint downtown. You know what you can’t get in a seafood restaurant in the Lobster Capital of the World in March? Lobster… So disappointed.
I mean, really… I could show up at a Red Lobster in Des Moines and order a lobster any day of the year.
Whatever. I’m over it.
I digress. The whole point of sharing the story of my first ever college spring break is to explain why I decided not to transfer to Radford. I kind of already said that above, though. I started making friends. I started putting forth an effort at getting involved.
Your college experience is what you make of it. And for a full semester and a small chunk of another, I wasn’t making anything of it. I wasn’t enjoying my time at Bluefield because I wasn’t trying to enjoy my time at Bluefield.
I remember, prior to starting my freshman year, I told myself that I would be able to be a different person in college than I was in high school. I didn’t have to be that shy kid who never participated in fun events. No one at Bluefield would have known me as that shy kid who never opened his mouth. And then I showed up at Bluefield and I was still that shy kid that I’d always been growing up.
Spring break gave me a chance to get out of my shell. Suddenly, I was a brand new person.