A Family Affair
(12/2011) Writing is a rare and wonderful craft in that the words we create come from adventures we have experienced, things we have seen and people we have cared about. So as the last leaves fall from
the trees, and the thoughts of our class turn to Christmas and our families back home, my own mind ponders the mystery of family. Many of us left our homes for college with the pretense that being in school would make us adults.
That once we moved into our dorm rooms and began classes, the responsibilities of fully formed adults would just fall into place. We were ready to take on the world with new-found skills and eagerness. And most importantly, we
were going to do it without anyone elseís help. Then a funny thing happened, we all got to college and immediately replaced the families we had been given by blood with families we chose through the bonds we shared. Boyfriends,
girlfriends, teammates, peers and study buddies form an intricate network that is less like a family tree and more like a family forest. And for me, life among the trees has been nothing short of fantastic.
It all began when I was inducted into the spontaneous brotherhood that is the Pangborn third floor. Our first night as friends was spent in the throes of hurricane Irene. When the storm wiped out power to
our campus, we decided to leave our dorm for a midnight walk. Over the course of a simple one hour journey, we developed more inside jokes then we thought possible, and began a friendship that would shape the rest of the school
year. What began as a group of eclectic individuals, motorcyclists, philosophers, skaters, lacrosse players, hardcore gamers, and one observant young writer--quickly became a brotherhood. It all began on a stormy night (and
thatís actually not just some literary trope I threw in for fun) as hurricane Irene was finally dying down. The power had been annihilated by the storm, and the boys on the floor decided that nothing could be better than a walk
through the dark. As we traveled across the unlit campus, we discovered that not only did we like one another; we had more in common than we thought. I discovered one of the guys was writing an adventure story in between games
of basketball at the gym. Another hall-mate got us hooked on video games, that we played as a team. From that point on we were brothers, not hall-mates; Pangborn was not a dorm, but a fortress, and we did not live on the third
floor: we lived on Pang 3. The shenanigans of our intrepid band continued well into the school year, but all of our adventures could be summarized with the word: random. The perfect example of this was the Pang 3 "Gentlemanís
Dinner" which occurred when our group decided we wanted to add some class to Patriot dining hall and wore our button-down shirts and ties to dinner, and sat as a group. I assure you, never before in the history of Mount St.
Maryís has a group looked that classy. The rest of the year has passed as a blur of study sessions in the library, midnight conversations, high fives, and man-hugs. Regardless of what happens in the crazy world of college, the
one thing that keeps us sane is the knowledge that a warm embrace, an epic fist pump, and a kind word are always waiting for us when we return to our home. These are the guys that I trust with my life; theyíre the ones that have
drawn me out of my shell and made me a better person, and Iím proud to say that, as much as my teachers have taught me, my brothers have shown me just as much.
Iíve also been blessed with a plethora of sisters, in the form of the ladies living underneath me on Pangborn, second floor. The running joke is that I donít actually belong to a floor, but have dual
citizenship, and itís not hard to see why. The girls have been more than hospitable to a young, hungry college boy (something that is not easy to do, let me assure you). However there have been numerous times, too many to
recount on these pages where I have received from my sisters a kind word, open arms, and a place to rest my head. These are the people who offer me motherly advice whenever I need it; they have breakfast with me three times a
week, and take me off campus when I need a break from the world of college. These are friends that I love and Iíd do anything for, up to and including walking around the library a grand total of 35 times (worth it I assure you).
So as the Christmas season goes into full swing Iíll be thinking of the family that Iíve been blessed with from birth and the family that Iíve made for myself here on campus. Regardless of whether Iím
home in my own bed, or (barely) sleeping in Pangborn, I only know one thing: itís good to be home.
Iím Kyle Ott; wonít you sit and read for a while?
Read other articles by Kyle Ott