Experience

New students told to embrace their time on campus

Jan Garrison
 

Culver is the place to experiment

 

August 25, 2021

When Culver Academies’ top two student leaders addressed the 261 students preparing to walk through the Logansport Gate at Sunday’s Matriculation Ceremony, they emphasized the importance of each boy and girl taking the time to reflect on and embrace the experiences during their early days on campus.

CMA Regimental Commander Mitchell Schott ’22 (Newport Beach, California) and Senior Prefect Jenna Springer ’22 (Indianapolis) each told how they personally have learned how to relish their times at the boarding school.

“Some of my best memories I have had here are from my new cadet year,” Schott said. “I became so close with the other new cadets in my unit that they truly became my brothers. I am sure that you have been extremely busy this week, but I encourage you to savor every bit of it.”

“You will want to revisit these moments when you reach the end of your Culver journey.”

Springer said her first few days were too focused on worrying about “what other people thought of me or would think of me if I did not succeed. Every day, I would ask myself if I fit the Culver mold. Did I have what it took to make it here?”

But, with guidance, she realized the question was not whether she fit the Culver mold but, rather, “am I using the opportunities and resources offered at Culver in order to be unapologetically myself. Was I working to understand my passion and what drives me? Was I participating in activities that nurtured my interests and broadened my horizons?”

 

Regimental Commander Mitchell Schott '22

 

Schott said “Culver is hard, embrace it.” Life is fast and it is impossible to succeed right away at all the daunting tasks the new students will face every day. But, he told them, “failing is the stepping stone to success. You are pushing yourself past your comfort zone in every aspect of life, everybody will fail.”

But “embracing the failure that you will encounter is the key to your success,” he explained. “You will struggle and that is normal. That means you are doing Culver right. Not many other kids in the nation can say that they live an independent life at such a young age where they balance not only academics and athletics, but also leadership.”

“Embrace the hard work, it will benefit you in so many ways that it will only become clearer as you continue to flourish with your time here.”

But don’t let the hard work overshadow the moment, he added. Don’t become so stressed over “every little thing” that you don’t take time to “be present in the moment.” Enjoy those times with your friends because those “could be memories for the rest of your life.”

Culver is the place to take risks and try something new. Whether it is a new sport, an AP class that is known to be challenging, or going for a leadership position, try it “and, hey, if you crash and burn, learn from it, reflect, and then try again.” Because, Schott said, Culver is the place “to do that, this is the place to take those risks.”

Springer told the students, “It wasn’t until I stepped out of my comfort zone and immediate bubble that I realized what was possible in terms understanding and discovering myself. I have learned the most from the experiences that forced me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.”

 

Senior Prefect Jenna Springer '22

 

It’s OK to trying something and not like it, she added, just as it is to realize that something you used to love isn’t “quite right for me anymore.” And, through all your different phases and experimentation, the Culver family “has got your back through it all.”

And it is that family – faculty, students, and alumni – that has taught her how to “develop heathy, caring relationships as well as manage and resolve conflicts when they arise,” Springer explained. “I have learned how to respect differences of opinion while finding ways to connect through our similarities.”

“More than anything, Culver has taught me that it’s OK to fail but it is not OK to give up. You have to keep going. Our Culver family will be there to comfort you but also to serve you up some tough love when necessary.”

And, while it may sound like she may talk about failing a lot, she added that is because “it is a vital part of the process here. You learn how you react and adapt. You start to understand how to navigate different challenges and how to problem solve. And the best part, is that you have people beside you that help you to navigate and discover as well.”

And the diversity of that family will help you prepare “for the beautiful and diverse world we live in.”

So, don’t give into the anxiety and fear new students have at this moment, she said. “Instead, trust the process and know that your Culver family will provide you the opportunities and support your need to learn and grow while discovering your best individual and unique selves.”

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