Authentic Eagles: On Responsibility

As Boston College students, it can be tempting to hide our struggles in the constant quest to appear perfect. Embracing our  truths can help us to understand ourselves and experience the world around us as genuinely as possible. Authentic Eagles is a series that gives a voice to the people who have experienced firsthand the trials and tribulations of being one’s authentic self at BC.

Dean Ebozue, CSOM '14

“Yeah, I am on Sexual Chocolate.” Now I promise you, that statement is never said in arrogance. It just so happens that most times when I met new people during my freshman year, usually women, they would ask, “Hey! Are you on Sexual Chocolate?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved when people asked me that, even though I hadn’t yet had a significant role in a show. Joining Sexual Chocolate during the first semester of freshman year was the best move I’ve made in my almost 4 years here. In fact, this first step towards school involvement began my steps towards personal progress. When I joined SC, I made a vow to my teammates that I would put all that I had into the club. I never wished to disappoint my SC brothers so I stayed focused on anything the club was involved in and attempted to excel in it. It is interesting to see how my actual life eventually followed suit.

When I came into BC my freshman year, I did not give one thought about academics. I foolishly took on Calculus with Professor Clote, Microeconomics, The Living Earth, and other loaded classes without the true intention of working hard at all. Instead of focusing on creating a strong academic foundation during my first year in college, I wanted to focus on being cool. I wanted to be the kid everyone was friends with and everybody knew by name. You may think that this is a terrible way to go about freshman year, and I would agree with you. However, by November 2010, I had upperclassmen reaching out to me and telling me about their parties and senior women giving me “the eye.” I couldn’t walk through Stuart dining hall without having a conversation. In my eyes, I was living the college life.

A crucial part of my transformation was the lack of effort I put into most of my endeavors. In class, my phone would be out and drained of battery because I was texting so much. I purposefully never read the class material and rarely completed assignments on time because I feared losing my cool factor. During a microeconomics class, the professor asked me why I did not have my homework, to which I responded, “Yeah, I just wasn’t really feeling it last night. I’ll definitely get it to you though.” I was somewhat of a punk, but to me, that answer was the icing on top of the cool cake.

I joined Sexual Chocolate in September 2010. There is a five-day tryout period for the team and for the first two days “Too Cool Dean” showed up to step. I clapped my hands softly and stomped with the force of a newborn kitten. All the tryouts were stepping hard and clapping harder, while I glided to the back of the big tryout room and attempted to “half-ass” my steps. Though I did want to make the team, retaining my carefree attitude was more important.  Eventually, when I realized I was falling behind the other tryouts, my stomps and claps could be heard miles away. My boost in effort must have been noticed because I was granted entrance into the brotherhood.

Though this was a life changing tryout, I still arrived to class fashionably late and so did my assignments. Even after first semester, when I earned a 1.5 GPA, my work ethic and sense of responsibility did not drastically improve as it should have. In fact, I focused on practicing my steps for Sexual Chocolate more than I studied for exams. I was in the step practice room much more often than I was in O’Neill and Bapst Libraries combined. I took a good amount of responsibility for my student organization because I loved Sexual Chocolate, but also because I was accepted into very few other clubs.

If Boston College students can bond over one thing it is that rejection runs rampant on this campus. I have yet to meet one person who hasn’t tried and failed to gain entrance into a certain organization or win a certain award. I used to open my email every week just to check on the well-worded rejection letters I received, mostly because of my low GPA and laid-back attitude. One day, during my sophomore year, I sat in my room after another rejection and I thought about how far acting cool had gotten me. My mind wandered and soon my room became the self-pity party. Why wasn’t I succeeding? Why doesn’t anybody want me? Faced with this issue, I handled it like most men my age: I cried.

College terrified me and I had no idea until my second year into it. I realized that I was so scared of failure that I refused to try. I foolishly convinced myself that the “psh, I wasn’t even really trying” excuse could be used throughout my college career. What I did not understand was how terrible losing felt. Sexual Chocolate tryouts were the first time in college that I put an honest effort towards success and won a spot on the team. I didn’t feel like being a loser anymore.

Before my sophomore first semester was over, I began to sit closer to the front of class, actually attempt to understand classroom concepts, create meaningful relationships, and even apply for more programs and positions on campus.

My sense of responsibility was like a light switch. I turned it on and off whenever I felt like it. During my freshman year, I usually kept it off. I only became responsible where Sexual Chocolate was involved. When I realized how unkind irresponsibility was to my self-esteem and work ethic, I started to leave the switch on and truly take control of what I was doing. At BC, it is impossible to avoid rejection, but I don’t consider it losing anymore. When I charge in with full force, I move with the intention of succeeding. Even though I am still afraid to fail, I am more confident in my ability to bounce back than ever before.