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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

A Different Point of View

Kyle Ott

(11/2011) After having spent a relaxing (and much needed) nine-day break with my family and returning once more into the arms of my adopted family in college, I sat down to write what I thought would be another inspired article that I would be proud to offer to our good readership. Then a funny thing happened: everything I wrote was complete and total garbage. Yes, dear reader, Iíll admit I had hit the proverbial wall. A writerís block so big, so monumental, so epically impregnable, I felt as if I was charging at the Great Wall of China with a water-balloon launcher. Never, in the 18 years that Iíve been alive have I looked at my laptop with such disdain. Finally, I closed the computer in disgust, threw my hands up in defeat and walked away from the still empty space where my words should have been.

What I failed to realize was that I needed a new perspective. Sure, I knew one way to approach my article and come up with the flowery phrases and gilt sentences that I desperately needed to create. But the problem was that the way I looked at my writing and approached the world was still very much the same. A lesson I wouldnít learn until later that day, when I was paid a visit by my aunt, grandparents, and one-year-old twin cousins, who were on their way to my home in Pennsylvania from visiting another of my aunts. Mount St. Maryís happened to be on their way to visit my parents and so they stopped by for some good old-fashioned family bonding and a lesson in clarity. My teachers that day wouldnít be my kind grandmother, sweet aunt, or tough grandfather. No, my tutors that day were my auntís two children: identical twins named Eliana and Mikayla.

The lesson occurred just as their visit was coming to an end. To put a capstone on a day of relaxing conversations and an enjoyable family dinner, I decided to take my family for an afternoon walk through the Grotto of Lourdes. As we entered that sacred space, the sun was just beginning to set in the sky, and the light from it struck the statue of Mary, making it shine with resplendent gold light. As we walked through the gardens amidst the holy statues of saints, I couldnít help but be transfixed, not by the scenery (beautiful though our grotto is) but by the youngest toddlers. They moved with a kind of wonder that can only be found in the youngest kids. They pointed and giggled at every statue of Jesus; they stopped to play with the steel chains that roped off the shrines; or they petted the stone lambs at the shrine to Our Lady Of Fatima. What shook me the most though were their words. Nothing Iíve written has ever come close to the joy they uttered in every single syllable. When they stopped to look at a rock and half-yelled "rooook" my heart stopped. When they stopped to smell a rose and giggled "fower" I had to catch my breath. Every word they spoke was said with an appreciation for the word.

They didnít care if what they said made sense or if it even sounded close to the words we were using. Somewhere, somehow, they intrinsically understood that the sounds coming out of their mouths had meaning, and that with each giggle and each cry, they were creating something special. And this brings me to the lesson I learned from a pair of little girls on perspective and the solution to my writerís block. When I was trying to write this article, I wasnít enjoying myself. What my writing lacked wasnít creativity or style but a decent approach. The problem was that I was writing for a deadline and not because I had a love and appreciation for the work that I was doing. But more than curing my writerís block, those two little balls of sunshine taught me something about college. Approach everything you do with joy: from your math homework, to cleaning your office, to going to practice. College is meant to be the best time of our lives. Sure, weíre paying a ton of money to go to school, but itís supposed to be a time of self-discovery and unbridled opportunity. For four years we have a new frontier where we can not only find out about the subjects we like but about ourselves. So why, on this earth or any other, should we approach school like it is anything less than the greatest adventure of our lives? It took three hours, two little girls, and one long walk with God and my family to make me realize this. And so with renewed vigor, and a truly fresh perspective I return to my duties as a full-time student here on campus. It was a nice break, but Iíve got a new lease on life and only four years of adventure to enjoy, so letís get started. Iím Kyle Ott; wonít you sit and read for a while?

Read other articles by Kyle Ott