Authentic Eagles: Teddy Raddell On Living the Dream

As Boston College students, it can be tempting to hide our true selves. Embracing our individuality  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, tribulations, and triumphs of being one’s authentic self at BC. We hope that readers are inspired to have conversations and reflections of their own, working towards being more authentic.

Teddy Raddell, A&S ’15

Walking across campus, especially during the first two weeks of school, is a little hectic and overwhelming. Trying to pick out friends and resist the BC look away, sometimes there is only time for a quick ‘how are ya doing?’, ‘good’ exchange. In my attempt to be clever I respond with a smile and say that ‘I’m living the dream.’ But when I actually stop to think about it, I realize that I really don't know what exactly I mean by this phrase. It had always been my tagline to break up the monotony of the ‘how are you?’, ‘good’ exchange.

Ever since I was a child I would daydream about the future. I pictured myself putting out fires, hitting the game winner in an NBA championship, and landing on the moon. Although I wasn’t realistically going to do all, or any, of those things, these imaginings seemed to my six year old mind the best things I could dream. That daydream of landing on the moon when you are in first grade seems like the greatest thing that one could possibly accomplish in life.

As I get older I never cease to daydream, but my dreams have gotten a bit more realistic. In high school, I  aspired to attend a prestigious university, to becoming a doctor, to living a life helping others, while also being comfortable financially. For me, college would be the final stepping stone to a life of joy, a necessary training step before the real world. I really didn’t know what the quintessential college dream was. If you asked me then I would probably say it would be to maintain a 4.0 while having the time of my life in true John Beluschi Animal House fashion.

However, one August night while the Heights were still quietly awaiting the return of its students for the academic year, I sat by the Labyrinth daydreaming about my first three years at BC and what the picture-perfect senior year could be.  The more I reflected, the more I realized that I was truly living the dream that lived in me. Sure I could daydream about going to a higher ranked school, or a school with better parties, or somewhere closer to my home and family, but what I have been blessed with at Boston College is truly the stuff of daydreams.

Who wouldn’t want to dream about spending Saturday afternoons cheering along the Eagles in Alumni Stadium with over 9,000 of your peers? About dinners that last hours longer than they were scheduled because people, enthralled with those around them, lost track of time. About writing essays in one of the most beautiful and inspiring libraries in the world. About challenging the mind in rigorous study. About growing in my faith in community with my peers. About having conversations on everything and nothing over coffee and cookies with a Jesuit. About watching the sunrise over the reservoir on graduation day. About singing Sweet Caroline at the top of your lungs in a packed Mod on a Friday night. About making friends that you can trust with anything. About having the hub of the universe a mere T ride away. About spending the afternoon playing pickup soccer on alumni field. About a day kayaking on the Charles and dinner in the North end. About going to Fenway, the Boston museums, and walking the freedom trail. About immersion in a smaller Boston community through service.  About simply admiring the grandeur of the Gasson bell tower walking to class.

These opportunities and more have been so vivid and fulfilling that they feel like I am living my daydreams. If I were to dream of college now all of these things would be part of it. I do not want to say that everything is perfect here on the Heights. I have made mistakes in friendships, I have bombed tests, I miss my family every day.  However, I feel that it is the moments of joy, of growth, of authenticity that have truly defined my experience at BC. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with, and I am beyond excited for the dreams that I can live this final year at BC and for the rest of my life.

Walking through the quad when someone asks me how I am doing I still respond that I am ‘living the dream’, but now it is not me trying to be clever. It is me being absolutely real about how I feel. I have been blessed.