April 24, 2012

Thoughts Of A Graduating Senior

So, it's come to this: my final blog post as an undergraduate at Duke University. It feels like just yesterday that I was taking that first step and nervously writing my first blog post. It was my sophomore year and even though I was out to all of my friends, I had never spent much time in the Center or even fully accepted myself as a gay man. I knew I was gay and had hooked up with guys before, but I had not told myself that it was ok. It was still something I was ashamed of and something I tried to downplay as much as I could.

Thankfully, I had an awesome roommate and brother who wouldn't let me do that to myself. He told me that I had to accept myself before I could be truly happy. Accepting myself meant more than just saying I'm gay and hooking up with the occasional guy. It meant not being afraid to talk about my sexuality with other people. It meant not lying to people when they asked where I was between 4-6pm on Friday.

And so, I turned to the blog. And now, here I am. A senior. Getting ready to leave Duke and all of the amazing people I have grown to know and love behind. Leaving the people that were once strangers but are now family.

Over my years here at Duke, I've learned a lot and so I hope to relay some of my nuggets of insight to you younger whipper snappers:

1) Get uncomfortable: Do something that makes you feel a little out of place, something you've been hesitant about doing. The only way I became involved with The Center was by stepping out of my comfort zone.

2) Be the lion: Just a creative way of saying be courageous. This goes hand-in-hand with my first piece of advice. It takes courage to break down that comfort wall, but without it, I wouldn't be writing for this blog, I wouldn't have my awesome fraternity brothers, I wouldn't be in my amazing a cappella group. Be brave and know that everything will be ok.

3) Don't close yourself off: I've seen it happen way too many times. Everyone has their group of close friends and there is nothing wrong with that, but don't ignore anyone not in your friend circle. Reach out to that new person sitting in the corner. Strike up a conversation with the person alone in the computer room. You never know. They might end up joining your friend circle. If not, you never know how your conversation might have helped them.

4) Don't judge: You don't have a gavel. You don't have the cool robe. You don't wear one of those ridiculous white wigs. That means that you have no right to make decisive judgments about someone else's life. Remember that. We are all different. We come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. We have varying views on life. And that's what makes us all special. This also includes actions.

5) Express yourself: In every way possible, express yourself in any way you see fit. I mean more than being artsy or wearing a neon pink shirt with fluorescent orange shoes. I mean your beliefs, too. Engage in conversations with people that have different views than you. Don't be afraid to go against the "norm" of what other people are saying. It's through these intellectual discussions about life that you become closer to people.

Above all else, love everyone. It is only through this mutual compassion that we can move forward and achieve progress. It's the only way we can grow as a community and as a people. Love = Love. I love you all and am going to miss each of you dearly. I can't thank you enough for the love and support I have received from everyone who reads and comments on this blog. You've helped me through quite a few rough times. I only hope that in the midst of all my rambling and identity crises, that I was somehow able to help you.

AJ Biggers
Trinity 2012

1 comment:

  1. I love this AJ. And you. You're awesome. Remember to visit, yeah?