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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

A College Life Crisis

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

(6/2013) At 20 years old, I canít help but think Iím having a mid (college)-life crisis. Itís bizarre to think that just two years ago I left high school to attend Mount St. Maryís University, and that now I am officially a junior. Looking back, I donít know where the time has gone or how two years could slip through my fingers so very quickly. However, itís with an odd feeling of pride that I reflect back on the past two years here on campus. I always vowed that when I went to college, nothing would be wasted. Every moment, memory, friend, and place would be cherished. No matter what happened, I would soak up everything I could so that when I looked back on my years at the Mount I would be satisfied that I lived the adventure to the fullest. What follows are some of my favorite memories from my brief two years here; it is partly a collegiate highlight reel and partly a meditation on the good that has been and the good that is yet to come.

The first weekend at the Mount was my initial step forward into the crazy world that I now live in. It was those first few days that tore away my shell and made me think that anything was possible. I had never been particularly shy before I came to college, but there was something holding me back from taking that final step and plunging into the water. My first three days in Pangborn Hall were less of a gentle nudge to make that step and more of a strong push straight over the precipice. I slept a grand total of nine hours in three days. I roamed my brand new domain until three in the morning with people whose last names I didnít know. I sat out under the stars talking about life, relationships, and just how awesome it was to have a total sense of freedom. Every time I crawled into my room, exhausted both mentally and physically, I had to force myself to close my eyes and sleep. Even at four in the morning I felt like some new experience was out there waiting for me to come grab it. That attitude, the idea that there was a whole world of new experiences out there, has colored my every action. No matter what happens, I know that the next two years hold a wealth of knowledge and memories for me to claim.

After the first weekend, things settled in and the tumultuous maelstrom of new experiences settled into a steady series of unbroken quests, jaunt, and activities with my friends. However, one of the things that punctuated these adventures was the chance to write columns for the Emmitsburg News- Journal. While this is something that Iíve mentioned before (I swear Iím not getting paid to write nice things about the paper), itís amazing to know that I have the chance to not only get paid to write, but also to reach a larger audience that is interested in what I have to say. Starting college and knowing that I was going to pursue a career as a writer was a daunting prospect already, let alone adding the numerous horror stories of the English majors working at Starbucks until theyíve forgotten what a pen looks like. Every time someone comes up to me and says something about the column Iíve written, or a point that I brought up in my work, it does my heart good. It is an immense compliment not just to the paper, but for me as young writer that people can be concerned, curious, or inspired by the things they have read in the paper. Itís an honor every time someone says something about the work that I, and the other staff members do, and itís an honor that I plan on continuing my role with the paper through the next two years.

Being a member of the Residence Life staff gave me even more adventures than I could have dreamed of, except now I am the one guiding young students on the same path that I once took and smiling as I see their experiences reflect my own. Iíll never forget the first week of this year. I was sitting in the lounge surrounded by my residents, who didnít know what to do or where to go because they were new. One of them complained that he just didnít know where to find something cool to do. I just smiled at him and said, "Adventure finds a way, my friend." Not even five minutes later, three girls from Sheridan Hall meandered up to the fourth floor where we sat and asked if my boys (as I so lovingly dubbed them) wanted to go outside and hang out. I slapped my resident on the shoulder and said, "Adventure finds a way!" while giving him a knowing wink. I couldnít help but laugh as the lounge went from a crowded hotspot to a ghost town in the span of a few seconds. As I sat on my laptop getting some initial classwork done, I felt an odd sense of pride; I had helped my peers find some new and exciting opportunities.

I suppose the final experience of these past two years that had a major impact on me was when I was able to see some of the seniors who I had grown close to, both in class and through Residence Life, graduate. The Residence Life staff graduated so many staff members that have served as reminders of who and what an RA is supposed to be. These people have shown me the way. It is both exciting and daunting now that they are gone, and I am left to help teach future members. In fact, speaking of teaching, a special thank you to the seniors leaving the Emmitsburg News-Journal staff this year and moving on to other things. These people have helped me to grow both as a person and as a man of words. I cannot thank them enough.

As I look back on the last two years and eagerly look forward to the next two years, I cannot wait to see what challenges the new horizons hold. Until then, Iím Kyle Ott. Wonít you sit and read for a while?

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