My life is now cut into a clear dichotomy–before CR and after CR.
OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but there is a distinct difference in who I was before my familia and who I am after my familia. I look back on CR and still am trying to fully comprehend everything that we did in those three and a half weeks. And as cliche as it is to say, the one thing I remember so prominently isn’t the places or the events, but the people, my familia. They change me for the better, they help me reach my greatest potential. They are a rock in my storms even though I don’t tell them that nearly enough.
You may be asking now, so how are you actually different as a person before CR versus after. Let me tell you.
First and foremost, I am now more intentional about being open to cultivating friendships with people who seem to be so different from me. This is our familia in a nut shell! We are all so different, coming from different backgrounds, home lives, majors, yet when it comes down to it, we all work together as a unit, so cohesively. I was never expecting to engage on such a deep level with some people in our familia; I was close-minded, living in my tunnel-visioned social bubble. Yet, on the experience, I made deep relationships with people I never envisioned having a deep relationship with. The familia is a beautiful thing because we all bring something special and unique. The same goes for friendships in our day to day life, everyone brings something fresh and individual, I no longer seek friends who are just like me, I seek friends who will bring a positive newness to life.
Secondly, my once long, flowing hair that I had my whole life was cut short after CR. Big changes, I know. Pre-CR Olivia was scared of the smallest, most minute things, cringing at the thought of her long hair being vandalized. I was terrified to bring change in fear that I would miss the old. What CR taught me is to welcome change, not run from it; on CR we pushed our comfort zones everyday. By welcoming change and pushing my comfort zones, I have learned to light-heartedly look at life. I no longer fear small, trivial things (like a haircut). I excitingly chopped my hair after CR, laughing at the scissors swishing across my once-prized possession, this was my big risk taking. CR taught me to just do it, just cut the hair.
Lastly, my value set changed singlehandedly because of Cultural Routes and my familia. I accredit so many of who I am today to this experience. Before CR, I was stuck in the college mindset, going out, having fun, cultivating a myriad of meaningless relationships. CR showed me something so much different. It showed me love in its purest form. It showed me people who genuinely care about my personhood. It showed me mentors who see the good in me even when it may be so hard to find. It showed me adventure and excitement juxtaposed with knowledge and learning. It showed me hands-on learning that brings words on paper to life. It realigned my values, it realigned my life.
As CR fades into a memory, I will always look back and see pre-CR and post-CR as two different eras in my life. The dichotomy of Olivia Chambers lies in this: Culture Routes 10, I will never forget you.