Coming into freshman year, I had the privilege of attending Frog Camp Berlin. For a small town girl going abroad for the first time, you can assume correctly: this rocked my world. On this incredible 10 days with 30 people I had never met, I heard about Cultural Routes. My Frog Camp facilitators were eager to plug me into the community and opportunities TCU had to offer. I was fortunate enough to take this trip with Dr. Pitcock and quickly realized I had a lot to learn from him. I began asking how on Earth I could get back to Berlin and do the experience again, and that when the words “Cultural Routes” were dropped. I now knew my goal for first semester: operation CR 10 was in full pursuit.
Dr. P will be quick to remind you that this is not a trip. Don’t worry Dr. P I know it isn’t Frog Camp. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think it was a trip at first, that’s what sparked my attention. As I reached that end of the semester I was battling many circumstances that life had thrown at me. As the title of my blog sums up, CR was truly a shot in the dark for me. As far as academics go, I was not under the requirement but I certainly thought I would be cutting it close due to the tough life issues I referred to.
I can say with a bit of confidence that no one was more excited to be on winter break than me. Not that I did not enjoy first semester, I definitely did. I was a completely different person at the end than I was at the beginning and it was definitely for the better. When I arrived back on campus after a wonderful Thanksgiving break with my family, I had no idea I was coming home to the week that would knocked me down so hard I didn’t know if getting up was an option. That week I went through a break up, which meant losing a best friend, and my cousin Robin, who had two heart transplants, passed away. Her body had gone through the worst, her body couldn’t keep up, but she is no longer in pain. Robin was equivalent to my second mom, needless to say her passing was not even a possibility in my mind. Having my family rebuild from the ground up and watching my cousins lose their mom was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and still continue to do today.
Now, I don’t want you to think I just poured that all out to make you sad or prove to you that I needed CR, I just believe in being raw. It plays a valid role in my emotions of the discovery that I received CR. The night we got off for winter break, I went to an Old Dominion concert with Ryal and my roommate Ashley. We had heard that CR acceptances came out and I decided to check it out, without high hopes. To be honest with you, I did not even tell my parents I was applying (sorry Mom and Dad), I just did not think after a semester like that it would happen for me. Clearly, I was wrong. I opened the email in the 7/11 and saw the black CR crest pop up on my screen. I could not believe it. I actually thought I was dreaming for a little while… There was no way I was selected. I am beyond grateful for the light in the darkness that CR offered me. God was too good to me and I can never thank Dr. P enough for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, I am not sure if he knew how much it meant.
Just to reiterate, this isn’t a trip. What I have learned is that CR is a growing process. Not just for me but for each incredible student going on this trip. We are each going to grow individually through learning about our strengths and weaknesses. Each student on CR is a leader one way or the other but the beauty of CR is knowing that we still have so far to go in our leadership training and through the three and a half weeks, we will learn a substantial amount about ourselves and others. The way the CR is designed is perfect in the way that we will grow individually, but more importantly we will grow with each other. God designed us for relationship, and what better way to connect with people then spending about a month with them in Europe. I hope to really be challenged intellectually and emotionally. As I have heard, CR is an emotional battle but in all the right ways. It is going to challenge me greatly to learn how to fight through the tired and the stress. I like to think of myself as a battery, I can go quite a long time, but there is a point that I hit where I just need my time. However, after this trip I want to learn how to remain charged the whole time by investing in others and feeding off their energy even if I don’t have a ton left.
I trust that the students on CR10 are going to challenge me and support me through the highs and lows of the trip. I am confident that I will come back with fifteen of my closest friends. I could not be more excited to dive in with CR10 and learn from my group. As I am writing right now, I can only imagine what it is all going to be like: immersing ourself in world culture, pouring into each other, and developing our character together. Like I said, I am imagining, and from what I have heard from previous CR members, mainly a good friend of mine Cooper Gould, I would say it is pretty accurate. However, I know there is so many unknowns still, life changing things are going to happen when I cross the ocean that I may not even be able to put in words. That said, Europe get ready, CR 10 is coming for you.