I’m ready to be all in for this experience. It feels like my entire freshman year at TCU has gone by in the blink of an eye with Spring Break on the horizon. I can still remember one cool afternoon in October when I walked into Rees-Jones Hall because my friend had told me about an “Honors Exploration” that would count as a Cultural Visions credit towards my Lower-Division Honors requirements. That’s why I walked into that building to learn about summer experiences. I wanted that credit. When I left, I wanted to go on an exploration for so much more.
I had heard of Dr. Pitcock before Cultural Routes. I had heard that he took kids on “trips” overseas to Europe for a few weeks over the summer. I knew that Cultural Routes was one of the most sought after explorations. When I heard him give his pitch about CR, I knew that this was no “trip.” I knew it wasn’t a trip because he opened with “this isn’t a trip; it’s an experience.” Then he told us stories of old experiences and how things have gone off track for the better (adapt and overcome) and what exactly CR looks like in terms of where we’re going: Berlin, Munich, Interlaken, Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome. He told us how emotionally and physically taxing this experience would be. He told us we would be challenged like never before, but changed in a way we had never been before. That got my attention and bumped CR to the top of my list. We wouldn’t just be doing this for a college credit. We were doing this to make us better people, just good raw human beings. That’s what I wanted to be a part of. When going to apply, I answered the questions open and honestly, hoping I was a good fit for Dr. P and his team. Then I said a small prayer and hit the “submit” button. In December, my prayer was answered.
We had just finished up watching my little sister Gracie, a sophomore in high school, play her JV basketball game for the night. I was very excited because it was the first night of Winter Break, and life couldn’t be much better. I had finished my last final earlier that day and drove the long drive home to Haslet, TX about 15 miles away to spend break with the family. Life couldn’t have been better. We went out to eat at one of our favorite cajun places, Boo-Ray’s, in Saginaw, with my grandparents who came to watch Gracie earlier that night. I felt a small buzz on my Apple Watch and looked down and there was an Outlook notification. I pulled out my phone in the middle of dinner (bad table manners, I’m working on it) and saw “Pitcock, Ronald: Cultural Routes 10: Welcome to the Familia.” I screamed a loud “YES” and everyone in the restaurant stopped for a second and looked at me. It was as if in that moment, time had stopped. I wish I could go back to that moment and just pause. All of the joyful emotion, all of the excitement, it was overwhelming. It was amazing. I told my family and we all celebrated. It was the best Christmas present anyone could have received. But after the excitement was over, it was time to go to work.
I believe that everything you do, you give 100% effort in doing it. There’s no room for doing things halfway. CR is no different for me. With this experience (It. Is. Not. A. Trip.) I am going to give it all I have. Every ounce of effort I can pour into this experience, into these people, I am going to do it. Like our logo says, “All In, 24/7.” I welcome the challenges that come with this experience. I want them to change me. I love these people and I want to change them for the better, and I want them to do the same for me. I feel so blessed to be afforded this opportunity to have this experience, and I am not going to squander this once in a lifetime chance. I will not fold. I am all in for CR10.