A few weeks ago, because I owed a friend a favor, I danced in MELA.
For those of you who live under a rock in the springtime, MELA is a fantastic event sponsored by ADITI that showcases a variety of South Asian dances and culture.
Anyone who has ever seen me can attest that I’m a pretty awkward-looking guy. I was extremely nervous about dancing in front of a thousand people because I’ve never done anything like that before, and I knew that by being the tall, gangly white guy, people would notice me if I did a bad job.
Nevertheless, I performed a Nepali dance, and while I certainly can’t claim to have done a great job, I absolutely believe that it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my college education. I did something that I wasn’t comfortable with and, in doing so, I grew as a person.
When the Campus Times asked me to write a piece for this week, I struggled to find a topic, knowing that there were too many options for my final piece. I could tout those things that I felt I’d accomplished as president, or I could list those things that I still felt needed to be accomplished. Or I could do what I always do – encourage people to get involved in student government.
However, I can always reflect upon my presidency and the future of the SA at other times, and I’ve realized that while I believe student government desperately needs enthusiastic and hardworking people, that isn’t the message I want to convey here.
This brings me back to performing in MELA a few weeks ago, and what it represents to me. College is a short period of time in our lives wherein a person is given a tremendous opportunity for personal growth and exploration. As students here, we’re exposed to a great deal of diversity in thought, background, interests and beliefs. Too often, we become complacent in doing only those things that we are comfortable with. For me, athletics and student government are two things that I prioritized during my time here, and I’ve cherished both.
But, in a different way, the three weeks I spent learning how to dance, and the three-and-a-half minutes I performed on stage that day were just as rewarding.
Students at this university have a wide variety of passions and interests, and I believe they are afforded many opportunities to pursue their interests fully. However, we must not forget to explore those things that are unfamiliar to us. And so, my parting words as a student at this university are – make the most of your time here, but not only by participating in those things to which you are accustomed. Expand your horizons, expose yourselves to new viewpoints, experiment with things that are foreign to you and, most importantly, dance in MELA.
Nabozny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.