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Refusing to blindly agree with peers builds character

Oct. 5, 2000

After nearly four years of trekking across campus in silent introspection, I've come to the realization that some things will remain the same for an eternity. The eyes of Judge Baylor will gaze upon Waco Hall, the bells of Pat Neff will toll to keep with time and the waters of our fountain will continue to flow into the days and nights. Presumably, the only thing I can imagine that has changed on our campus over the years is the students and the ideas they bring with them to Baylor. Each academic year brings with it a class of diverse backgrounds and fresh ideas, all awaiting the opportunity to flourish in the soil of academia.

Ideally, that's how things are supposed to work. The college campus, for the most part, aims to provide its students with experiences designed to encourage free thought and bring them steps closer to 'real world' survival.

In all honesty, I can't be certain that relying on the rigorous academic standards of my past will have provided me with any

lessons deemed adequate for future survival. Rather, I believe that each individual's decisions and experiences -- not those made for us by others -- shape our identities free from the dictates of our environments.

The need to break free from the nuances of life and society isn't a new concept. Author Henry David Thoreau decided (voluntarily) to live in near-seclusion in a cabin overlooking Walden Pond for two years, two months and two days. Though many viewed his actions as erratic and reclusive, he wrote,'I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.'

And thus, Thoreau's life at Walden was comparatively simple after shedding his dependence on society and the then-modern conveniences of his world.

This said, I'm not advocating students abandon their apartments, dorms, homes or even classes, to pursue a life of rustic simplicity as Thoreau did. Instead, I pose this challenge to each of you: Just once, think for yourself and leave the influences of your confidants and your environment behind you. Empower yourself with the ability to live life simply and make your own decisions. After all, it is only our own decisions that, in reality, provide us with the appropriate direction to begin to live our lives to their fullest potential.

As Thoreau once penned in his journal, 'We live but a fraction of our life. Why do we not let on the flood, raise the gates, and set all our wheels in motion?'

(Monica Morales is a senior public relations major from Corpus Christi.)