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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

A Brand New Beginning

Kyle Ott

(6/2012) Summer is finally here! Congratulations to all Mount St. Maryís students on what I hope has been a truly successful and fulfilling year for every one of us, and a special congratulations to two of this paperís senior writers and editors, Kelly Conroy and the newly commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Julia Mulqueen. Both of you have been a tremendous example to all of us, and you are most certainly on your way to amazing things! All of our recent graduates and those who have journeyed through a truly enlightening year at the Mount have begun to think back on the kind of year itís been and the impressions that we have made or the legacies we have left.

It truly is a strange thing to think that just last month we were at school, worrying about finals and how on earth we were going to pack our dorm rooms up for the long ride home. Nine months ago I made a similar change, packing everything I had ever owned into the back of my parentsí minivan and waving goodbye to the small town in which I had grown up, leaving behind everything that I had ever known for sure along with it. I made a huge change by deciding to live on campus at Mount St. Maryís. Everything was different. To start with, I shared a room with someone I had never met, an experiment that Iím pleased to say worked out extremely well. Even scarier than the one person I had never met before were the two thousand people on campus that I had never gotten the chance to meet. My high school had around four hundred people, so being surrounded and living amongst five times that number was a little disconcerting at first. However, as I look back on the kind of fears that I had, I can honestly say that Iím glad I overcame every one of them and seized the college experience. That strange person who happened to live with me turned out to be a pretty cool dude. And my favorite memory of orientation week at Mount St. Maryís was staying up until four oíclock in the morning with someone I had just met, debating mankindís search for fulfillment and the meaning of truth. Those two thousand plus people became less of an intimidating statistic and more like a call to adventure, a challenge that I became incredibly eager to accept. Because of those people and the opportunities theyíve presented me, I have been able to do so many cool things.

When I think back on all the amazing people Iíve met and the random adventures Iíve had, one memory sticks out in my mind: the night of the least-haunted haunted trail ever. It was a brisk day in late October and I was sitting in Origins of the West class waiting for our esteemed teacher Dr. Rupp to come in. While we were sitting in class, I struck up a discussion with my friend Claire, a girl who I had met that year through my work with the Office of Social Justice. Over the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she and a few of her friends were going to the haunted trail in nearby Frederick. As we continued to talk I asked in passing if I could go, and surprisingly enough she caught the question and responded with a genuinely enthusiastic "Yes!" And so it was later that evening that my friend John Powers, Claire, Claireís friends and I were piled into a tiny car and on our way to the haunted trail. What transpired next was a blur of "scary" characters, girls shrieking and the satisfying thud as John and I high-fived. As we entered the gate we were approached by two demonic clowns, Buttons and Bubbles, whose deranged makeup jobs and strange antics scared the girls. John and I in the meantime were busy laughing at Buttonís terrible jokes, dancing awkwardly with Buttons and taking as many pictures of them as possible. As the walk continued, we goofed around with the "monsters." During a short stint through a dark cornfield, we were ambushed by a group of possessed scarecrows. Deciding this would be a great opportunity for singing, John yelled out an on-the-spot parody of "Party Rock Anthem" by pop artists LMFAO. Before I realized what was happening, the scarecrows who had been terrorizing us moments before joined me in song, stumbling over made-up verses, until we almost left the cornfield, forcing them to shamble off to their hiding places and wait for less interesting prey.

When I think back on this year at the Mount, it is definitely those moments of fun such as the hunted trail that come to mind. Itís not that they were life defining or truly deep in a spiritual or emotional sense, but they represented the kind of quirky spontaneity that has defined my first year at college. Moving away had not only thrust me into college but also into adventures that would come to characterize my life at the Mount. So it is with much happiness and also a little longing for past adventures that I look back on this year.

It seems almost fitting then that the drastic change that occurred during the beginning of my college experience would re-occur at the end. I had no idea that over such a short period of time I would come to have so many people around me who are suddenly such integral parts of my life. As if the brief period of stress known as finals week was not bad enough, I had to say goodbye to the people that had become my life and the world surrounding it. Gradually, I watched as my brothers on Pang Three returned home to keep up their good-natured shenanigans in a familiar setting. Francis and John packed up their belongings and drove south, back to their families in Maryland, and my best friend, Jake, returned to Virginia. I distinctly recall sitting with him in his empty room as he was about to leave and saying, "Iím not sure what to do with this." And to be honest, I meant it. For nine months, the Mount was my home, and I felt like I was leaving it all too soon. But as summer continues, I know that the Mount isnít going anywhere (literally or figuratively), and Iíll be able to return to my friends, my second family, and a host of untold adventures. Until next time, Iím Kyle Ott; wonít you sit and read for a while?

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