Whether you actually believe it or not, you have probably heard the phrase, “College will be the best years of your life” countless times from multiple people.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking that your college years have in fact been the best years of your life so far.
Or maybe, you’re reading this and you’re not sure if your college years have lived up to the expectations that you and the rest of society have set for them.
Or maybe, you were reminded of those words towards the end of your college career and feel like you have missed out on what should have been the best years of your life.
But maybe, your college years have been good but you think life has even better years in store for you.
Or maybe – you’re somewhere in between.
No matter where you fall on the debate that the ages of (roughly) 18-22 will be the “best years of your life” and no matter where you currently are in that stage (i.e. reading this as you are deciding on which college to enroll in or reading it as a college graduate thinking back on your college career), we can all agree on one sentiment about this time: College is a place where you will grow and transform and no matter your experience, you will come out of your four years a much different person.
Your college years will make you think and talk and act and see in many different ways. You’ll probably wear many different hats – from an intramural team member, to the kid that sits in front of me in class, to library buddy, to the neighbor down the hall on my floor, to the familiar face I always see on campus but never know if I should say hi to or not but we both know that we recognized each other. You will meet many different people. You will learn different theories and read many textbooks. You will become friends with different people and learn different things that you always wanted to. And you will become friends with people that you never thought you would meet and learn things that you never thought existed. These years will be different. And maybe these years will be very important to you. Or maybe they won’t be everything that you had hoped and imagined. But wherever you are and what you do during these “best years of your life”, you will learn more about yourself and the type of person that you want to be.
And I think that is exactly the point.
Friarside Chats is a forum which began in 2012 by student leaders on the campus of Providence College who wanted to investigate bigger questions and grapple with societal topics and their effects on the collegiate, local, and global level. These leaders were individuals who collaborated the use of their education, knowledge, informed opinions and an online blog space to create a free forum for ideas to be dissected and shared amongst their readers.
Sometime, these chats discussed the PC community suggesting ways that we as a community could grow together. Others wrote about controversial administrative decisions made on our campus. Other articles were written to talk about topics outside this campus. Articles were written about combating problematic societal norms and stereotypes that we can agree need to change. Sometimes they shared advice for the next generation of students on the campus that they have found as their home. The posts were very personal and touching, sharing their stories, passions, and even reflections over their own college years. Regardless of topic, the common theme throughout all of the writing, reading, reflecting, and sharing of these articles, or “chats”, is that through thinking, we can discover many things.
College campuses are giant think tanks where many different types of people come to learn, think, collaborate, live, enjoy, invest and grow. And during this process, growing leads to discovery.
This is exactly what Friarside Chats has done, and it is exactly what we are hoping it will continue to do.
We, a group of current PC students, have been lucky enough to, in a way, “inherit” Friarside Chats from students who we looked up to as role models when we first got to campus our freshmen year. We still look up to these students. They left their mark on campus and on the next generation of PC students through their writing, collaborating, and discovering.
And now it is our turn.
Maybe college won’t be the best years of my life or maybe it will. But hopefully through this forum, I will be able to learn through engaging this dialogue now as an upperclassman.
So, let’s start this again. Let’s be a part of each other’s stories and discover things we didn’t know but can only learn together.
Come think with us.