Monday, January 21, 2013

The Letter

Two years ago on a brisk February afternoon I was carrying a letter to the blue slightly dented mail box two blocks away from my house. This was no ordinary letter though. I was not writing to the pen pal I’ve always dreamed of having nor sending my late Christmas thank you cards out to various family members. This letter was much more influential and life changing. It was my college acceptance letter to Ursinus.
            As I walked I reflected on the past year, of which I spent countless hours online looking at colleges, traveling around the nation to visit them, and talking to various teachers, counselors and so on about what the “right” decision would be for me. I reflected on how petrified I was that my decision wouldn’t be “right”. How, I remember thinking in late September, did they expect my inexperienced 18 year-old self to make this kind of decision? As I shuffled through the gray slush that lined my street I still was faintly scared, but, even though I couldn’t put my finger on why, I knew my gut was telling me that Ursinus was the place for me.
            Presently, as a slightly more experienced 20-year-old sophomore at Ursinus, I can finally put my finger on why I was attracted to this quaint campus 12 hours from my house. It wasn’t the amazing food at Wismer or the huge freshman dorm rooms, but instead I was enticed by the impressive liberal arts education. Unlike many other schools, Ursinus urges their students to go beyond their academic comfort zone. The college has formed a curriculum that allows students to achieve expertise in their desired major while also being allowed to dabble in the many other subjects offered, from biology to dance to philosophy to calculus. This type of curriculum generates well-rounded, proficient adults who become crucial in our democratic society. In the United States and in other democratic societies, the people, in the end, are the ones who have the ability to vote on laws and to make potential political and social changes into reality. The issues they are voting on and the changes they make though, are often multifaceted and highly complex. They do not merely concern one sector of our nation but instead many different sectors and they affect almost everyone one way or another. This means in order to have a strong democracy that creates adequate solutions our society must be comprised of multifaceted, complex, well-educated citizens, AKA Ursinus graduates. These will be the individuals who will be able to see and understand every side of an issue, therefore being better able to make the appropriate political, economic, or societal change. In other words, if our society was comprised of liberal arts educated citizens then our democracy and our Nation, as a whole, would thrive.
            Every time I see a group of wide-eyed, frightened, high school senior follow a talkative tour guide around campus I think back to the walk to my mailbox. Choosing Ursinus and its liberal arts education was an intimidating decision, but it was unquestionable the right one. Ursinus has prepared my fellow students and I to be global, active citizens in our democracy, which I truly hope the recently accepted high school students see and that this will be enough to instill that gut feeling I felt two years ago. 

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