Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Calling the Whitman Bubble ‘Home’

This guest column was written by Jillian Davis ’14.

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Photo by Annabelle Marcovici

We’ve completed the Clarette’s challenge or failed at an attempt to do so. Pulled all-nighters or completed the quiet room challenge, seen many spontaneous naked laps, whether around Ankeny or through the library. (Maybe we even partook in a few.) We’ve fallen in love, made mistakes, but through it all, we’ve learned so much about ourselves. I look back at the first couple years of Whitman and it seemed like we were tentative about getting our feet wet, unsure of this new place, circling the pool, being mindful not to splash others upon entering. We were just learning what it meant to be out on our own, living somewhere where our parents couldn’t dictate when to study or when to come home. But as time went by, we grew ever surer of ourselves, taking on the responsibility of who we become.

This past year especially, I’ve cannon-balled into the water, and I’ve learned that what has made me the happiest throughout my college career isn’t getting an A on a test (although that’s an added bonus), but the adventure of getting to know myself through the people I surround myself with. Some of us came into college with a set goal in mind. Others, like me, have explored options and interests and still have more exploration to do. I was lucky enough to be a college athlete, on a team full of people with a range of interests and personalities but united under a love of sport, bonded through sweat, smiles and the occasional tears. It was when we were together both on and off the court, during the times of pure exhaustion that tested our strength, times of failure that tested our determination and during times of so much laughter (to the point I peed a little) that stretched our ability to feel happiness, that taught me it’s not what I have but who I have in my life that counts.

It was first my team, but it has been the range of people that I’ve bonded with, from roommates to classmates to professors to community members that have made my time at a small liberal arts school, 1,500 miles away from my home town, the fullest experience I could have hoped for. This community of people has taught me that it isn’t the material things in life that will make me happy, but rather what I divest and learn from each relationship formed, measured in a magnitude of compassion, honesty and laughter. Anaïs Nin once wrote, “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” I’ve made friendships that have helped me find myself. The people here have taught me many things and have opened my eyes and heart to a world of possibilities. They also taught me that I still have a lot of learning left to do. Ten years from now it won’t be the grades, but rather the nights that turned into mornings (with impromptu sleepovers) and the friends and teammates that turned into family that I will remember.

So as our adventures at Whitman are about to end, for the last 30 days, I encourage the class of 2014 to immerse themselves in the Whittie culture: meet more people, play more games and go on more adventures. Like many other seniors, I am coming to the realization that the bubble I have played and laughed and grown in is about to pop, leaving me to the next chapter in my life. Although I am excited at the prospects my future holds, I am also terrified: embarking into uncharted territory, faced with difficult decisions that could define my life. From the words of a childhood favorite, “life is an awfully big adventure,” and it is my hope for each of us that we are able to find joy in the adventure called life: from our job to where we live, but most importantly in our relationships. Not to judge our choices based on others’ expectations, but based on our own happiness. And when we go our separate ways and leave Styx in the rear-view mirror, I will remember that Whitman is a place where friendships were built, lessons were learned, and laughs were shared. A place I will forever call home.

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