My college story: education, experience, challenge, change at the Capstone

I have had two types of educational experiences during my four years at The University of Alabama.

The first is the academic. So, thank you to the professors whohave inspired me and challenged me. In these past four years, I have grown to love learning, thinking.

The history department has left me with a passion for the past’s relationship to the present, one that I hope to pursue for the rest of my life. The journalism department has given me professional skills necessary in today’s world. For both of these somewhat contradictory lessons, I am thankful.

My second educational experience has been a cultural one. These lessons could not be taught inside a classroom; they are uniquely “Alabamian.” Most importantly, they have been unabridged, opening my eyes to both moments of pride and embarrassment.

My cultural experience is epitomized by groups and organizations I was able to take part in as a student. And while I have criticized aspects of the greek system, the SGA and even this paper, I am still very proud to be associated with these organizations and thankful for how they have shaped me.

My sorority has led me to friends I will know and love and cherish for the rest of my life, “sisters” you could say. Many slander the rush process, but I believe I found a home through that hellish week – a house in which I have found refuge and joy. And despite individual differences within, we are still bonded together through an ancient yet respected pledge. That is something both delicately beautiful and powerful.

Likewise, I have met some of my closest friends in the Student Government Association. While I did not continue involvement, the friends I made remained. SGA quickly taught me that in politics the surface is often not reflective of the waters underneath; I am not strong-willed enough for politics. But learning lessons like that now, rather than later, is an essential part of college. Trial and error.

The Crimson White, and specifically this column, has provided me with perhaps some of the greatest lessons of all. In putting my words in the eye of the public, I have been criticized in hateful, mean ways. But because of that, I have learned that having an opinion means that you must be willing to consider others’ – ignoring those with poor grammar and words that degrade rather than build. This experience has drained me of energy, but having the opportunity to write and be read is something that as a student, as a writer, I am beyond appreciative of.

Yet, despite my love for these institutions, I am not blind to their faults.

When I return to Tuscaloosa, in five years or 50, I hope the greek system has been desegregated. I hope that black boys and girls are able to join the same sororities and fraternities as their white peers.

I hope the SGA will rid itself of corruption, detaching itself from unnecessary voting blocs and instead cultivating leaders from all areas of campus.

I hope The Crimson White will use their words to educate its readership in a beneficial way, avoiding the accusatory pursuits of some. And I hope readers open their minds to the fact that sometimes, it’s not right versus wrong, but instead two viable solutions versus one another.

A population increase has created a school far different than the one I originally applied to. And because of its size, change will be best inflicted through individuals acting through an organization. My experience is reflective of the organizations I chose to align myself with, but I know there are many more on campus, circulating their own hopes for change.

I have grown as a student and individual during my past four years because of this school, these organizations and the people within them. For their legacy to be positive, they must embrace such growth.

I am ready to leave, but to those who remain, do not be afraid to challenge what you see around you. Change is not pursued by those wanting to destroy the objects of their attention, but by those who care enough to realize change is necessary.

SoRelle Wyckoff served as the opinion editor for The Crimson White.

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