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Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy

On a Thursday afternoon, I received a text from my friend: “Hey… do you have class next Thursday?” Then, a moment later, “*Important class”.

Confused, I texted her back—I had an hour, but nothing I couldn’t skip. I had no idea what to expect, but what came next wasn’t even on the list: “Want to go to Canton, Ohio?”

She quickly explained—Hank Green’s book tour would be stopping there, only a six hour drive from London. If we drove through the night, we could even be back in time for class Friday morning.

“That’s absolutely absurd,” I told her. “I love it. I’m in.”

And so it was that the following Wednesday, I found myself sitting in a car with two of my closest friends as we crossed the border into the US. The border guard seemed baffled by the idea of three university students on a road trip to see an author (“You must really like him”) but we didn’t care. We were on our way.

We spend the night in a cheap motel, and after a luxurious six hours of sleep we had breakfast at an adorable café. We visited the local “castle” (actually a gatekeeper’s lodge for an oil baron’s country home which was never even built) and hiked through the parks surrounding it. We carved our names into mushrooms and popped jewelweed pods.

And then was the show. It started off ordinary enough, with a reading from the book, but the rest of the night was anything but ordinary. Award-winning author John Green delivered a speech while wearing a bumblebee costume. Then Hank came on with his guitar, and performed both a song about quarks and a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s iconic “Call Me Maybe.” Then John and Hank donned blindfolds and competed in a trivia game to whack each other with inflatable bats. It was absurd and it was amazing and I loved it.

This is what university is all about. Doing absurd things because you can, because there’s no one to stop you. You’re young and you can. Making memories to last a lifetime with people you never want to forget. Seizing moments and opportunities that are beautifully, terrifyingly temporary, and embracing them with everything you are.

It’s so easy to fall into routines of class and work and clubbing—and not to say those aren’t worth doing, but they’ll be there for the rest of your life. University is a time where everything is changing, where you’re changing. It’s a time to explore and try new things and find out who you are and what you want to be. Take advantage of it.

After all, you can always be boring in your forties.


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Jill O'Craven

Western '20

In between. Still think I'm seventeen. Don't know where I'm going. And okay with it.
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