Another opinion piece from a senior? Can’t you guys just move on and get out of here? I’m sure at least some of you are probably questioning our sanity for writing an opinion piece in our last full week of classes at Wabash. And rightfully so. I probably should be studying for my last batch of final exams and finishing up (or starting, let’s be real) those last few papers. But I found my mind wandering off, thinking and reminiscing about the last four years of my life. I’ve made plenty of good memories here, from late nights working on a float with my fraternity brothers to van rides back from golf tournaments. At the same time, there are things that I wish I would have done differently. Maybe I should have spent more time at Career Services. Maybe I should have stopped at a professor’s office hours a few more times. Maybe I should have gotten to know some of my classmates and fraternity brothers better.
All of this got me thinking about why I came to Wabash in the first place. My high school self (at the prodding of my parents) believed that my college experience would be what I made of it. I could have a great college experience at a large state school, and I could have a great experience at a small liberal arts college. But it seemed like Wabash College was going to give me more chances to make the most of my collegiate career. Four years later, I can say with certainty that my judgement was correct. Wabash is what you make of it. That is the beauty of this place: your proverbial return on investment is directly linked to the amount of time and work you put into your chosen path. The issue is that many of us are simply going through the motions and not getting the most out of our collegiate experiences. I am in no way attempting to say that I have made the most of my time at Wabash every single moment of every single day. But I do think that, through some examples from my four years here, you can see what I mean.
During my first two years here, I was focused primarily on my grades. Sure, I was on the golf team, in a fraternity, and a member of a few different clubs. But make no mistake, my time and effort went into studying, and I viewed my other activities as a small reprieve from the work I had to do. This is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go about things. It resulted in me leaving everything besides school on the back burner. It meant that I was simply going through the motions at golf practice and not putting in the effort to get better. It meant that I made some good friends within my fraternity, but not the bond of brotherhood that would transcend the boundaries of Wabash College.
At some point during my junior year, I realized that I was just going through the motions when it came to anything outside of the classroom. I reflected on my priorities and realized that I was not getting the most out of my college experience. So, at that point, I switched up my priorities. I took my athletic commitments seriously and I got involved within the leadership of my fraternity. I picked what was important to me and stopped going through the motions. Despite the fact that I was spending more time on the golf course and more time hanging out with my fraternity brothers, I still made ample time to complete my schoolwork and succeed in the classroom. I was making the most out of my Wabash experience in more ways than just my studies, and as a side benefit, I found that my mental health increased greatly.
I share this narrative in support of my general takeaway from my four years here: your time and experience at Wabash will be what you make of it. If you choose to go through the motions rather than apply yourself, you might feel that your time in Crawfordsville was a waste. But if you pour your time and effort into this place, you will be rewarded and feel a sense of satisfaction. There is no one-size-fits-all description of a successful Wabash man. I think that is because there are so many different directions that a Wabash man can go. Whether it be in the fraternity house, the football field, the stage in Ball Theater, or the classroom, Wabash gives us so many different avenues to apply ourselves. But we still have to put the effort in to make the most of those potential avenues. We have to put in the work to achieve the reward. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to coast through the remainder of your time here, going through the motions with your different involvements? Or are you going to apply yourself and make the most out of the many opportunities this institution gives you?