We've all seen them. Those *ahem* elderly people that look like their 80+ years of life have been the most difficult anyone has had to endure in the history of the earth. When they go out in public they no longer care if their socks don't match. They'll wear plaid shorts with striped shirts. Matted hair and an open fly indicate either supreme ignorance or incredible apathy. I think it's the latter. What are you going to say to someone who has been alive for more presidents than you have years? They've heard it all, seen it all, done it all. As a senior in college, that's about how I feel... to an extent. I always marveled at the upperclassmen at Bethel. The way their pride in the school was displayed in the most carefree ways. Whether it was a flamewar, a challenging question in convocation, a prank, or at a sporting event. Boisterous. Incisive. Excessive. Even down right belligerent at times. But what I didn't know before now was that they were preserving something sacred.
As a senior, I've lost any sensation of self-conciousness. Who's going to tell me that I'm cheering too loud or asking the wrong questions? I've paid my dues, now it's my turn to take over the ship and help lead a student body in the ways that are innovative and relevant to the changing campus demographic but with respect to the classic Bethel culture. This is a responsibility that I and the rest of my senior class should take with great care. We're now on the pedestal to be the crazy, outgoing, loud, ignorant-to-normal social cues individuals that eliminate any sort of embarrassment of others by bearing it all on ourselves. In this way we break down the barriers that would normally exist and instead create the "community" that is so often referred to at this place. I'll paint my face and run across the stage shirtless at convo if that means even one freshman feels less aware of themselves as an individual and feels comforted in the collective. I appreciate the times in the last three years in which a senior did that for me. Perhaps unknowingly. But regardless, the effect was the same. My voice became louder as the collective voice grew because of the long list of leaders that went before me. I don't remember all the names of those ridiculous individuals that paved the way for my position today, just as I'm sure mine won't be remembered. There were countless individuals before me and, I hope, there will countless after me, continuing the long tradition of creating and molding the community at Bethel.