What Does It Mean to Be a Trailblazer?

What Does It Mean to Be a Trailblazer?

For my last piece here on The U Post, I was asked to write about the graduating seniors. But I guess you could say I’m channelling my inner Sara Bareilles here because I’m not gonna write you a “senior story.” I could re-hash the things we’ve accomplished, but to be honest, that’s what this week—especially Friday’s Prize Day—is for.

I wanted to write about what it means—or maybe what it should mean—to be a Trailblazer. And that’s why I’m not really addressing the seniors; we’re gone in less than two weeks, our ability to impact the school gone. So instead, I’m writing to the rest of the University community—juniors, sophomores, freshmen, transfers, faculty, parents, and really anyone else that’ll listen.

I’ll admit, I’m one of the first to start laughing when we start talking in-depth about the core values. Personally, I’ve never focused on doing everything I can to promote the specific core values (and it should be noted that I’ve most certainly violated them on multiple occasions…) but rather focusing on the spirit of the core values.

After our trip to the semi-state, I wrote a piece looking back on the run. And when I talked about that Saturday in March, I talked about how we “came together as a community.” I was proud of what we had done together, and to me, part of what it means to be a Trailblazer is being a member of a community that looks out for each other, in the same way we looked out for our fellow students by showing up loud and proud to the gym in Seymour.

We haven’t necessarily done anything wrong since March, but the feeling around the school hasn’t been the same. And while that’s to be expected—I still maintain there are few things more exciting than Hoosier Hysteria—it’s not something that has to be the cut and dry reality. I’ve spent a lot of time with you guys—juniors down to freshmen—and really and truly believe you have it in you to carry the spirit of our community positively through an entire school year. It’s not impossible—I’ve seen it done in the past—and it’s something that can really enhance the educational experience we get here at University.

So, to the 180 non-seniors, I challenge you. I challenge you to take this school to another level, to embrace the spirit of the core values, and to make University a better place than it was when you got here. One thing I learned in my four years here was that in order to truly be welcomed into a community, you have to bring something to it that will help to better it. Some make bigger impacts than others, but the first step towards being a member of a strong community is making it better.

Be willing to go against the grain and to pursue something that you really think will better the community and whether it’s something as simple as Yugioh! Club or something as big as staging a Relay for Life, try and do things that will make the University community grow and come together—and these two events are just a sample of the things you’ve already done to grow our community.

So, what does it mean to be a Trailblazer? Being a Trailblazer means that you’re a part of a community: a community that has your back and a community that you want to make better. Blaze your own trail if you will—I did it with the Blaze Craze—as it brings something new to the community. University really is a great place, but it can be even greater. Make it greater.

As a note, this is my last piece for The U Post. I’d like to thank Naomi Farahan and Ashley Crockett-Lohr for making this project of theirs a reality; it’s really enhanced my experience at University, and I hope it’s enhanced yours. I’d like to thank the other members of the sports staff at The U Post and encourage you to continue to read Daniel Healey’s Sports Updates and Isaac Mervis’ Athlete of the Week columns as time goes forward. And above all else, I’d like to thank you—the readers—that have read my columns along the way. I know they’ve been long, and I really, really appreciate it when you take the time to read my stuff.  It’s been real, Blazers.

Photo Credit: Jack Sampson

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