My earliest memory of campus takes me back to my little, four-year old pigtails, tied up with blue and golden bows. As I sat on my dad’s shoulders, he pointed out the very sports field that he used to play football on each week. For weeks after, I ran through the house, humming the “Fight Song”. With two proud Blue Hen alumni as parents, I felt as if I had heard all there was to know about the University of Delaware. During my first official tour, I couldn’t help but make connections. Old College was not just the postcard campus building, it was where my parents first met. Russell was not just a dining hall, it was where my parents would sneak in a quick lunch together between classes. And Main Street was not just a little stretch of shops and restaurants, it was where my parents went on their very first dates. That being said, I adjusted to life at UD pretty fast. It felt familiar. Honestly, this worried me. I worried that I could outgrow it too fast.
That changed one night last November. I was walking home from Trabant along the same path I take every Thursday night. Suddenly, for the first time, I spotted two bronze goat statues tucked to the side of Caesar Rodney. Initially, they made me smile. They were so sweet and simple. I couldn’t believe it had taken me three months to even notice them. Every morning since, I have made a point of noticing them on the way to my 8 AM Spanish class. After taking a closer look, I found that they even had names, Chloe and Lucinda, and that they actually serve as a memorial. I mentioned the statues to a friend of mine who is currently a junior.
“There are goat statues outside Caesar Rodney?” she responded. I guess I wasn’t the only one to overlook them.
Statues are created intentionally and with care. They are meant to last. They serve as a legacy. On move-in day, we are, essentially, handed a fresh piece of clay and told to make what we want of it. Every single day we live, class we take, or person we meet shapes our four-year experience. In the end, my junior friend’s college experience likely didn’t suffer from missing the goat statues. However, her college experience may have been completely different had she missed meeting her now best friend at Perkins Live!, or missed seeing a certain RSO at the Involvement Fair.
My mom was a Fashion Merchandising major, and my dad was a Business major. By chance, they both registered for Art History thirty years ago as a fun elective. Their college experiences–and really, the rest of their lives– would have turned out entirely different had they stuck to their core classes. My dad intentionally chose to take a class outside of his comfort zone. My mom intentionally chose to say hello to the football player she sat next to.
Now, I am their legacy. I am creating an entirely unique life for myself at UD than the ones they built on their own–and together–thirty years ago. This semester, I plan to live more intentionally, and I encourage all of my peers to do the same. Between classes, extracurriculars, jobs, and internships, it is so easy to lose sight of your surroundings. Rather than rushing to my 9 AM Honors Colloquium, I will slow down and take note of all the events filling the bulletin boards of Louis Redding Hall. We are given just four years of college. That equals 2,102,400 minutes.
I think it is always worth sparing that extra minute to introduce yourself to someone new or to see campus in a different way.