The last few weeks of freshman year were a whirlwind. The combination of formals, lab papers and finals consumed my brain non-stop, leaving no time for any thought about CR. It wasn’t until halfway through my biology final that it finally hit me; I was going to be in Europe in less than a week! At this realization, I began smiling like a complete fool. Yes, during a 100-question comprehensive biology final, I couldn’t stop smiling. I’m sure my fellow peers questioned my sanity, but in that moment, I had no care in the world.
I walked out of my last final and a rush of elation and sleep deprivation washed over me. I had made it through my first-year of the Pre-Med gauntlet. But it was calm, almost too calm. While this normally would be exactly what I’d be looking for following a long year, this was different. This was the type of calm people from Texas know all too well. This was the deceiving calm of a southern spring afternoon. This was the calm before the storm.
Before the largest and most powerful storms, the wind dies down, the blue-sky fades to an ominous green, and the world becomes filled with an eerie silence. Cultural Routes is that storm. I know the tranquility I am experiencing following finals will soon no longer be there. Soon, the opportunity of the lifetime will be presented to me with full force and I have to be ready. When the storm hits, I need to be prepared. While I look forward to the opportunity of forging a legacy unique to CR10, we are faced with the challenge of meeting the standards set before us by past CR familia. This is both inspiring and intimidating. To follow in the footsteps of some of TCU’s best and brightest is a lot to undertake, especially when you feel that your name is not nearly worthy enough to be placed in the same sentence as them. Yet, I am optimistic. When the pressure is on, I settle in to my zone. You know what they say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
Despite my optimism, I do have true apprehensions. Cultural Routes has always held a position of reverence in my mind. I hope that it proves to be everything I have imagined; that I’ll grow in my knowledge of world cultures, that I’ll step out of my comfort zone, that I’ll grow in my character and faith, and that I’ll make friendships to last a lifetime. The last is what I look forward to most. Anyone can travel the world and see the largest, most opulent and historically significant monuments. What separates Cultural Routes from any other experience is the ability to use these locations and monuments to catalyze a deeper understanding of self and others. We live in a world that revolves around the ability to understand, communicate, and empathize with one another. If we are unable to do even that, we have lost the one thing that separates mankind from any other species on Earth. We have wasted our God-given potential.
As I finish writing this, there is less than 19 hours until I board for Berlin. I am excited, no, I’m beyond excited. This is it folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.
Berlin, here I come!