Who am I? The school tells me I’m a senior, but I’m a freshman at heart. I’m stuck in that phase of wide-eyed wonder as I discover the world is nothing like I thought it was. Fortunately for you readers, these discoveries are often the result of my extravagant and (to the third-party observer) hilarious screw-ups. As the demotivational poster says, “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.” So gather round, kids, and learn from Grandma Beth’s haphazard stumble through this thing we call life.
I owe much of my maturity (and boatloads of my immaturity) to the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh!. As a freshman, I literally cried about everything. Drum major gently tells me not to be afraid of marching the right moves? I struggle to hide my tears. Four-day band camp is a little intense? I sneak off for five minutes, bawl my eyes out, and move on to the next activity. Every time someone corrected me, even nicely, I assumed they hated my silly little freshman guts.
But by spring quarter, being a wimp was getting too exhausting. I decided it was time to laugh off my numerous mistakes and start enjoying myself in band – and I did. Life got a lot more joyful. Now, I’m co-leader of the 30-member clarinet section, and my darling freshman class is unwittingly paying me back for all the havoc I wreaked as a first-year. Turnabout is fair play.
I’ve also acquired a hefty amount of practical wisdom from the Jesus-loving community in Davis. When I came to college, I thought I knew Jesus, but I had no idea. Okay, I had some idea, but it was this dynamic and freakishly nice group of college students actually living out his radical love that helped me find purpose in life.
These cool upperclassmen would invite me over to their grown-up (read: furnished from a dumpster) apartments and take the time to hang out with a lame-o freshman. Half the time, I was just there for the free food – my band uppers kept taking my swipes, and I was terrified of running out. (I didn’t.) The other half of the time, I was stoked to be at an apartment with two-ply toilet paper. Sorry, Tercero, but your weak and scratchy tissue just didn’t do it for me. I always roiled with envy at the dorm floors that spent their communal fund on real TP. But bathroom humor aside, it changed my life to have people genuinely care about me so much, and now I want to pay it forward with the befuddled freshmen in my own life. Again, turnabout is fair play.
Sometimes, one epic fiasco is all it takes to learn a lesson. One afternoon of shivering half-naked and walking disoriented into a campus bathroom was enough to ensure I’d never again stand out in the pouring rain for hours on end. Talk about a lousy Picnic Day. But other times, it takes two or three or 10 times for the message to hit home. The results are in: After three years of college, a change of major and the advent of my taste for coffee, procrastinating on my term papers is still not a good idea.
So who am I? I’m a Jesus freak and a marching band geek. I’m here to make all of life’s classic mistakes so that you don’t have to. I’m your friendly neighborhood Aggie columnist.
BETH SEKISHIRO is currently out of toilet paper at her apartment and knows her houseguests are judging her. She might learn her lesson after the Kleenex and paper towels run out, too. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.