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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

I support you

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016


To the Musician:

Youíve finally gotten your big break! You are convinced that you are on the road to fame. That is, if anyone spots you playing once a month in the local coffee shop. Nonetheless, you go out and get new guitar strings and tune them up just right. You grab some extra picks just in case. Youíve been taking longer showers to get all of your vocal exercises in, and so far it sounds like itís paying off. Yet, you are faced with the common belief that you will never make it and that it isnít possible for you to earn a reliable wage from playing a few gigs every now and again. Instead of letting this defeat you, you use it as fuel, and it empowers you to seek and work towards your passions rather than letting them get you down. You know the odds arenít in your favor, but you are doing what you love, and it makes you happy. Come performance day, you are blowing up all the social media sites with posts and e-vites to everyone within 100 miles of the gig. After the show, you are feeling confident and even more passionate about your music. When someone gets up and walks your way, you pull out that Sharpie you had so casually slipped into your pocket earlier. When she gets closer, you are extremely excited that she has admired your work. However, when she speaks, all she does is ask for directions to the nearest tourist attraction. Well, at least all that penmanship practice will be useful for something.

To the Presenter:

I know you have that big conference at work coming up. Youíve been trying to turn a new idea into a fresh reality. Itís a concept youíve been thinking about for years. Finally, you have the courage to demonstrate how great it truly is. Come presentation day you anxiously tap your fingers on the table as your coworkers file into the room and take a seat. When your boss enters you start to question your confidence and wonder if what you have to offer is adequate. You stand and hope that your knees donít buckle. You try to take a final deep breath before clicking through the slides. Your nerves cause you to rush and make your sentences jumble. You try imagining everyone in his or her underwear but that only makes you more uncomfortable. It took you a little while, but you finally got into the groove and everything started to flow perfectly. You make it to the end, and you are more than satisfied with how things went. Yet, once you stop talking, the crickets in the room seem to be getting louder, and everyoneís eyes are fixed and have yet to shift away from you. Seconds pass like hours before someone finally clears their throat and begins to speak.

To the Prospective Student:

You are so stressed about which college is the right fit for you. The courses at one look more interesting, but the other offers your intended major. The one has a sweatshirt that looks so good on you, but the otherís mascot is way cooler. Your best friend is going to one, but you know more people going to the other. Mom claims itís entirely up to you as she sips her coffee from a mug with the college logo purposely positioned in your direction while Dad knows youíll make the right decision based on where he went. Lists of pros and cons line your notebook but always end up being even. You are so confused and lost. Donít let it worry you. You will find your place if you choose with your heart. Even though you donít want it to influence you, what your parents think does have a great impact on you, and part of you is convinced that dad wasnít joking when he said that you couldnít live in his house if you didnít attend his alma mater. Despite what you think, he actually wants you to be happy. You complete the applications for the schools your folks want you to attend and stick them in the mailbox knowing your family is satisfied. But what about your feelings? When the mailman comes the next day, make sure you run out and hand him that envelope youíve been hidingÖthe envelope with the application to the school your heart is truly set on.

To the Musician, the Presenter, the Student, and everyone in between:

The greatest cause that we can ever support is each other. It is imperative that we care about the well being of those in our local and global communities. How much better would the world be if people always had your back? If someone was there to catch you should you fall? There are times when all we need is a simple smile of reassurance, and other times when we actually need an extended hand. Sometimes all that is essential is to know that someone is there for us and that we donít have to bear the weight alone. Weight is meant to be distributed and we are made to take on the burdens of others. I encourage you to reach out with your hands and with your heart so that you may become a means of support. Let there be room on othersí shoulders for you and let your shoulders be open for others.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen