One of my favorite programs that has started at Transy since I’ve been here is called “What Matters to Me and Why.” It was an idea that Dr. Wilson Dickinson, our Associate Dean for Religious Life, brought with him when he started the job my sophomore year. The Office of Religious Life sponsors the event and even though I’ve only been able to attend a few times, I leave every time feeling so proud of and inspired by the people I’ve met at this school.
Basically, whenever a part of the series is held, a faculty, staff, or student will just talk about what matters to them and why. It doesn’t have to be religious, but most people do discuss values and reflect on their lives thus far. After they present, there is time for questions and conversation.
The other night, the speakers were two students who I have gotten to know — and you might have too! John Culbertson and Carly Wynn are both senior religion majors, and both work in the admissions office with me, so if you’ve come for a visit, they might have given your tour or spoken on a student panel.
Both centered their “What Matters to Me and Why” talks around a list of values. Of course, there was some overlap between the two, but it was fascinating to listen to the two reflect on their lives and discuss what really has made a difference to them.
Most speakers mention something about their family, friends, or their career/academic interests. For most people, those things are what we value. And it’s always heart-warming to listen to people talk about how important those things are.
But my favorite part of listening to John and Carly talk was hearing all the things that matter to them that have come from their time at Transylvania because I feel the same way.
Carly talked about her semester abroad in India, which was possible for her to do here and it fit right into her graduation requirements. John talked about performing as Kermit the Frog at Cabaret last year, and I still remember how wonderful that show was (here’s a blog I posted about it last year, pictures and everything!)
Sure, not everything they said was supposed to be Transy-centered. But without being at this university, they wouldn’t have had those experiences that shaped them into who they are. And maybe they wouldn’t have thought about life in the same way. You never know.
I feel inspired by both John and Carly every time I talk to them and it was wonderful to hear them present on the things that are most important to them. Of course, I could listen to them both talk for much longer than the 15 minutes each that they got.
So the moral of the story is: when you come to Transy, you will meet people that aren’t just fun to be around, but that inspire you every day. And really, what more could you possibly ask for?