Words of Warriors The Beginning After the End
T.S. Eliot once wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” My cohort and I discovered this quote during our final weeks abroad this past Fall. We were warned that, coming back to Westmont College, we’d notice things we had never noticed before and see things in a far clearer light. To be honest with you, I was not optimistic about the clarity I would have, as I figured I would experience a distaste for our culture upon my return. I realized now there are two specific things about Westmont that I previously had taken for granted, and I’ve realized these are the things that make Westmont special.
The DC: My semester off-campus has changed the lens I use to people-watch. In foreign places, I would dissect every social interaction before me and find beauty in it, so I asked myself why I didn’t do the same here. Now I see why the DC is such an integral part of our culture: it’s a space we share with our loved ones. The initial thing I noticed during my first week back were the warm-hearted embraces shared among students who hadn’t seen each other for some time, whether it be three weeks or six months. One of the more frightening things about the DC is that you see everybody there, but that is also what makes it so special. It’s where we reconnect with each other after months apart, it’s where we de-stress with our friends after that test that was nothing like the study guide, and it’s where we run into people who might just become our best friends.
Dorm Life: You are bound to experience rowdy neighbors at some point here. You know, the guy next door that plays Fortnite until 3 AM who doesn’t realize your vents are connected. Or the girl that bops to the new Ariana Grande album while you’re trying to watch your next lecture for Doctrine. Annoying right? Well, while studying abroad, you’re probably rooming with the same two or three people. Sometimes that’s great, but sometimes you find yourself missing your rowdy roommate and the rest of your floor that would never let you get any sleep. Someday, we are all going to be out of college and living in our way-too-small apartments we can’t afford, likely with other people who also can’t afford it. So, why not enjoy the chaos that is your section? You might just miss it when things get quiet.
T.S. Eliot also wrote, “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” For me personally, the end of my travels marks the beginning of a new appreciation for the beautiful mess that is Westmont College. I hope you find that same beginning, before the end.