Saint Anselm College is not a perfect place. The thing is, perfection isn’t the point. Pretending we’ve reached perfection would run counter to the mission of the college as a liberal arts institution, and on an individual level, we would just be fooling ourselves. None of us are perfect, but we cannot let that get in our way.
The world is changing around us. I know everyone says that all the time, and it sounds stale and cliché, but it is true. Our world is changing, and we can’t be static in the midst of it. And that, more than anything else, is why spending four years here at Saint Anselm is so important. Because this place, these people, have taught me – have taught us – what we are capable of.
My own example is this: I am an Abbey Player. I served on the Board of Directors for two years, and I know the stump speech we give at shows so well that when I’m 64 and people don’t want to need me or feed me anymore (yes, that’s a Beatles joke), even then, I’ll still be able to recite that spiel. I’ve slept, eaten, and worked in the Dana Center for more hours than I can remember.
Being on this campus for four years, especially as an Abbey Player and an editor for the Crier, has given me a voice that I didn’t know I had. It has taught me a lesson that I hope we have all learned in one way or another – through service on SBA or at the Meelia Center, on the sports fields or in the Church, it doesn’t matter where.
That lesson is this: I can be great someday. We can be great. Not only can we be great, not only can we matter – we already are great. We do matter. Every single one of us.
We always hear people say, “be the change”. I want to tell you, I think saying that is ridiculous. Because see, here’s the thing: you cannot choose whether to be an agent of change in the world. The truth is, you and me, we don’t have a choice. None of us do. We are the change already, whether we like it, whether we admit it, or not.
In theater, one of the first things we learn is that what you choose not to do is just as important as what you do. The words I choose to leave off the page when I write a play are, in their own way, just as important as the ones I do write down. The things we do not say to one another, the moments for which there are no words, matter just as much as the times we rant and rave to our friends about the things and the people that we love.
It has been said that an ordinary man is the most important thing in creation. So, this is my challenge for us. Be ordinary. Every single one of us, through the ordinary things we do every day, because of the people that we are, are the reason for something important in our world.
Maybe it’s the friend you convinced to go on SBA with you. Maybe it’s the roommate you helped with their homework so they could pass that theology requirement. Maybe it’s the scared freshman who wanted to transfer out until she joined Family Weekend Show and found a family with the Abbey Players.
There are hundreds of stories like these. We know some, and there are an infinity of others we don’t. And it is these stories that make Saint Anselm the community we are.
So today, and tomorrow, and the next day: remember what you – remember what we – are capable of. Think of the excitement, the danger, and the responsibility of that. Then embrace it.