Coming into TCU I knew I’d be facing an incredible amount of opportunities to pursue, including the most critical of all, Cultural Routes. I’d been taught to near venerate the experience by a sister (and family) who DID venerate it. Due to this, I knew the magnanimity of the chance I had to apply. I just had to follow some advice to ensure that my application was of the highest quality… Don’t be an idiot. Now that statement was much easier said than done, as my freshman year has been full of mistakes, yet alongside those mistakes has been a constant desire for growth. This desire was key to my excitement when I checked my email and found the CR Acceptance and instantly lost my mind. That immense excitement was compounded as I began discovering my peers who I would be making the journey of Cultural Routes alongside. The anticipation grew daily as at first there was a rush of people following the CR instagram account, then the rest began to trickle in over the break as those late-comers decided to check their TCU email account —I mean it was winter break, who could blame them. Speaking of winter break, I made the executive decision to not inform my family of the fact I was accepted for CR until I was back. I did this hoping to create a masterful reaction video, first informing my mother and father that I had gotten an email from a professor dropping me a letter grade due to absences before handing them the CR acceptance letter. My mom refused to even read it out of anger until my dad just started laughing. His laughter set my sister off, and completely surprisingly, she lost her mind. Sadly, my friend videoing ran out of memory so the video was lost.
At that moment I looked back on the semester, I thought that even though I had made mistakes and have been an idiot as well, I could be proud.
That’s how I felt at the time of my acceptance, but that’s fleeting so let me tell you about what is real. What’s real is what I believe will help make it special for me. Let me tell you why I’m so happy to have be a part of CR, and in particular, this group of 16.
I look back on my life and I see that I have never had to give real effort in much, sure I worked my butt of for football and some other athletic endeavors, but aside from that I’ve just skated along on talent. Now that’s fine in that it hasn’t really ever failed me, but there have been plenty of close calls. As I’m in the midst of what is looking to be a close call again this semester, I’ve had people tell me not to worry, that maybe a tenth of a point on the GPA doesn’t matter long term and yet, I absolutely hate it. I know I’ll pull through, yet still I’m tired of these close calls as I feel their indicative of so much more (my own idiocy). I have huge dreams and enough talent to make just about anything I want happen, yet my lifestyle isn’t in line with either. I spend too much time caring about the wrong things, when there is only so much time in a day. Failure kills me, it drives me, I don’t want it to exist in my world. Now that may be impossible, but I want to do my best to make it a reality. I can hardly stand myself when I mess up, because at this point in my life, the challenges aren’t enough that I have any excuse or justification for imperfection.
Throughout this semester I believe I’ve gotten a better grasp on what that idiocy I talked about earlier is. I see it to be blindness, instead of the propensity for mistakes. A lack of vision as to the big picture, the effects of actions, and how priorities and perception shape behavior. Idiocy is taking an honor such as selection for this trip and sitting upon it instead of pressing forward. The reason I am so freaking pumped for this experience is because I know I have so much room for improvement. I know it’s the time in my life to move past my own past idiocy. I know however much I’ve been able to do, I can —and should—do more. I’m excited because the CR way that we’ve talked about is what I need to fully embrace. I need to be pushed without any of the falsity that comes so easy in the world. I need to be genuine with myself and recognize that even if I’m being patted on the back for things I’m doing now, I’m still only scratching the surface of my potential. I hope to utilize CR to push me to that next level.
I am by no means worried that I won’t reach my potential though, because I’m not an idiot I’ve proven to myself many times that I have an incredibly intense will, and I just need to push it into the forefront of my life and truly utilize it. I hope that by the time we’re all back in the States, I can look back and not focus on pride, but instead focus on the growth. I have full confidence (me and confidence, never heard that before) that statement will become a reality, because I look forward to throwing myself completely into the experience, into Dr. P’s teachings, and into the people around me. Everyone on this trip has leaps and bounds to teach me, I am open and most importantly all in.
Hopefully the decision to tear away at the veneer of excitement is the first step on my path. To realize just how intensely flawed I am and the stark contradictions of how I act. Now I just have to tear away at all the other ways I cover for myself, and embrace who I am, in my raw form, something I’ve never truly been able to do. I hope to strip away what holds me back. I want nothing to do with that idiocy.
Onward to CR 10, I eagerly await.
– Ryal Reddick