As freshman year comes to a close, I am faced with the departure of many people I hold dear. Last Saturday the incredible souls of the senior class move on in their lives, on that day they became legendary. Their legacy of what they’ve done at TCU only to be surpassed by what they’ll go on to do. While I might have hoped to spend more time with the Michael Drake’s, Landon Hendrickson’s, Mary Grekstas’, Brenden Voss’, Hayley Henley’s, Ryan DeTamble’s, Hayley Henley’s, and Cole Sanford’s of the class, I am now left with numerous memories and above all, lessons.

As these people I’ve spent the year idolizing make their exit, I’m still here. I am examining myself in the wake of what has been a trying semester for me. While I’m constantly trying to move forward and incorporate their lessons, I still feel woefully inadequate when I look up to them, CR Alum or not, and recognize all the work there’s yet to be done, whether that be personally, academically, or co-corricularly. While I’ve been told what it takes to be number one, I’m still in the beginning stages of the journey, and as this year has taught me it’s going to fly by—both the experience of CR, and my remaining years at TCU. To me this signals that I need to hurry up now, and I can’t wait much longer. I know I got to start being right now, because I can’t get much wronger. This isn’t to say that I haven’t been trying, I just feel stuck relative to the progress I need for who I want to become.

I look forward to CR as a time of reflection, growth, and focus. When I look at myself and this semester I realize it’s time to shift from viewing those above and trying to learn, to viewing those around me and what they have to offer. At the beginning of this year, I figured that those around me can’t tell me nothing as I looked forward towards achievement. I believe that this experience will be the final knell for that line of thinking.

I’ve been fairly obsessed lately over the figure of Kanye West (if you can’t tell), and his approach to his art, philosophy, and life. While listening to his music and its complex  messages I’ve found myself reflecting upon my own life through the lens of his conflict and struggles. He’s led me to the belief that everything I’m not made me everything I am. I’m not normal, I’m not quiet, I’m not complacent, and I’m constantly struggling with the fact that I’m not perfect, no matter how hard I may try. These factors are what define me, I’m not afraid to separate from the crowd, I’m not afraid to be the one to speak up, and I’m not afraid to push myself to grow. I’m curious to see how these beliefs stand up throughout CR, particularly the first two assertions about standing up and standing out in the face of what we will see.

While Kanye’s music has caused me to reflect on my life, his recent antics have caused me to reflect on the world. I have always considered him to be extremely intelligent,  yet it still startled me when he began exposing his current philosophy of life. He has caused me to examine the polarized nature of our world and the hate fueled rhetoric tossed around so carelessly. It’s modified my style of thought, as I’m trying to become much more self-aware of the sources of my motivations and frustrations. Most importantly though, his actions along with the media’s reactions (the cutting of interviews and twisting of words), have caused me to recognize the importance of communication. I initially didn’t agree with anything Kanye has said, particularly with what the media portrayed, but when my love of Kanye led me to investigate deeper past the headlines, I’ve gained an incredible level of respect for what he is attempting to do. When on CR, I may shop so much I can speak Italian, yet even in attempting to learn the languages of other cultures I am coming to the realization that words are an incredibly ineffective way of conveying meaning. I have started to be much more careful in how I present my words, attempting to leave as little up to chance. As I continue my attempts at transparency in language through CR, I hope to be welcomed to the good life as I believe a decent chunk of conflict in our world comes through miscommunication and an unwillingness to listen.

In the shadow of graduation, my excitement only rises. One year down, one CR to go, and a whole lot of growth awaits between now and then. The seniors are making their move and I’m ready to make my own. All in, 24/7, you know the drill. So as I say good night I cherish the fact that in only one day I will be saying

Good Morning to CR 10,

Ryal Reddick

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