Learning from, laughing through, first year mistakes

“Taking Chances, Making Mistakes, and Getting Messy: A Reflection on Learning from Experiences,” was the theme of the Week One (Sept. 14) Community Reflection in Stetson Chapel. Sponsored by the Chapel Program, Student Chaplains offered their advice to the audience of mostly first years about learning lessons the hard way on campus. K Chaplain Liz Candido ’00 introducing both the new crew of chaplains and the weekly Community Reflection hour, which she called a forum “reflecting on our ideals; not just saying we believe things, but learning to live in integrity with those things.”

2012-13 K student chaplains at Stetson Chapel

K Student Chaplains, 2012-13

Student Chaplain Justin Leatherwood ’13 spoke about how an accidental prank war beginning his freshman year escalated into elaborate hijinks involving feeding beans to sleeping roommates and setting up a complex booby trap over a bed. These experiences, he says, helped solidify his closest friendships. “We did some pretty weird stuff freshman year,” he said. “Had we all been worried about showing our true colors, none of this awesome stuff would have happened. As we head into this new year, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, or do those strange things you love doing.” Student Chaplain McKenna Kring ’15 shared a more serious roommate anecdote from her first year about the mistake of not speaking up when problems arise. She stressed the importance of communication. “Don’t avoid,” she said, “communicate.”

Katie Ring ’15 spoke about her first non-A grade; Darren Clarke ’13 read from an essay about the mistake of unquestioning selflessness; Sam Rood ’15 extolled the virtues of sobriety after a night full of mistakes; Molly Anderson ’15 recalled her repetitive mistake of forgetting her room key; Theo Cambert ’15 talked about making the mistake of prioritizing Frisbee over academics; Alicia Schooley ’13 warned first-years to learn to socialize with professors while erring on the side of formality. Lastly, five other chaplains read submissions from anonymous upperclassmen about their biggest mistakes made at K.

Community Reflection offers a unique forum for discussion, worship, performance, and community expression each Friday at 10:50 AM (refreshments at 10:30) in Stetson Chapel. The entire campus community and general public are invited.

Story and photo by Elaine Ezekiel ’13.

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About Andy Brown

As the Director of Media Relations and Online Content, Andy shares the stories that distinguish Kalamazoo College through social media, the Web and the news media. Contact him at abrown@kzoo.edu.