There is no secret that we are a culture that heavily values the traditions and customs that make Wabash College so special. We are driven by slogans and mottos that enable us to persevere in a place that prides itself in breaking young men down and building them back up. When I sit and observe the proverbial bloodline of the college, I can directly point to a spirit that thrives off challenges and adversity. This has led me to the ultimate question I have before strolling across the arch. What do we mean when we say, “Wabash Always Fights”? It sounds self-explanatory on the surface. Quite frankly, we have embodied this statement a numerous amount of times in nearly two centuries. In this past year alone, we have dealt with a global pandemic that challenged the ways we can preserve and uplift the Wabash culture. Honestly, it is much easier for me to tell you what it should not denote than telling you everything that coincides with that motto we hold so dearly.
“Wabash Always Fights” should not mean you do not allow yourself to reach out for help. Too often, students buy into the notion that they are supposed to shoulder the load in every facet of being a Wabash student. As a person who has bought into this notion, I can vouch that this attitude creates crippling effects that can deteriorate your experience as young men. I spent a great portion of my time believing that a man, a Wabash man, should try his hardest to work as a solo act. However, there is no true merit in being excessively headstrong and independent. Wabash is a place that is supposed to push you towards hard-work and self-accountability, but self-accountability does not equate to neglecting the help that is in your reach. Do not let your ego deter you from reaching out. Check your ego at the door. At the end of the day, there is nothing to gain from being too independent and too full of yourself.
“Wabash Always Fights” should not mean you are not allowed to feel fatigue. There is no shame in being overwhelmed in an environment as rigorous as Wabash. Although we pride ourselves in saying that we are cut from a different cloth, we are still people going through internal and external battles on a daily basis. The thing to avoid is allowing that fatigue to restraint you from continuing your journey and your path as a Wabash man.
As my days close, and I reflect over what makes this Wabash experience so important to cherish. I realized the “survivor mentality” we have inherited enabled us to thrive in a place that is meant for challenges and adversity. However, I realize that that same mentality, without being properly harnessed, can inhibit us from being the best version of ourselves. As you come closer to crossing the arch, remember what WAF is supposed to represent. Do not allow yourself “survivor mentality” to be the demise of your success.