As we are all cramming for finals and working endlessly on final projects, we thought it was important to stop, take a breath, and look back on what we’ve learned this semester.
When the semester started, some of us had goals like finally learning time management or maybe learning to not wait until the night before a paper is due to start it. But turns out, the first half of the school year taught us a lot more than that.
We learned social media could be devastating. Before the election, Facebook and Twitter became battlegrounds with some taking quick shots then retreating, while others launched explosive discussions that sent their followers running for cover. While some posted cute, “I voted” selfies, others openly attacked the political beliefs of their friends. Casting a ballot moved from simply voting to a statement about your feelings for others and even your relationship with God. “How can you be a Christian and vote for that candidate?” By the time the election was over, some of us had to delete our social media accounts.
Just when we thought maybe the worst was over, two students were expelled because of social media. We learned six seconds of video can cost someone their entire education. One Snap can become one’s reputation forever. We are not just playing with apps and buttons and “Likes” anymore.
We learned the world of sports will always define success by the number of wins someone accumulates. When the university fired Ken Collums, we learned no matter how many times you hear growing up, “winning isn’t everything,” it has been and always will dictate the longevity of a legacy. Although it might be a good line to tell kids, when you get to a competition as stiff and a stage as big as Div. 1 every week it is win or go home. If you find yourself losing more than you win, there is a very good chance your opportunity to win will be gone soon. It doesn’t really matter if you’re creating a good culture or putting yourself out there as a good person. Don’t get us wrong. Occasionally, when this culture is created, success comes. But if the scoreboard doesn’t have more points next to your name, your luck will run out soon enough.
We learned the difficulties of working in media during the election cycle. Covering one of the most memorable presidential races in our country’s history wasn’t an easy task. We had lots of hard conversations about whether or not we could endorse a candidate and talked with friends and family about what it means to engage with the media in this day and age.
We learned to think differently against all the obstacles set before us. No matter what your parents or friends think, you have every right to think, act and speak differently. During this election, we learned that even though our parents believe in one way does not mean we have to agree. That #ImWithHer does not mean #ImAgainstGod and “Make America Great Again” doesn’t mean “Die, Women Die.” We learned to think for ourselves with the brain God gave us. At the same time, we learned to trust in God and all the plans he has before us even though we can’t see them. That we shouldn’t blame God for the misfortunes in life. Sometimes, God puts us in situations to test ourselves – to see where we stand in the midst of trouble.
We learned to find comfort in the community around us when two of our own students died. We learned, or were maybe reminded, that even though ACU isn’t a perfect place, it’s a good place.
We hope you learned some of these things too.