It is hard to ignore the countless brightly colored posters that are plastered on bulletin boards throughout the quad, let alone the hundreds of flyers that line the stairway up to Mac. In fact, those posters were the first things I noticed when I toured Boston College. Of course I was in awe of Gasson and Bapst, but the little pieces of paper scattered across campus really stuck out to me and honestly made me feel a little overwhelmed. There seemed to be so much going on around BC and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to keep track of all of it. Nevertheless, I wondered how I would even make it to any of those events, granted the busy schedule I was planning on having.
To make matters more complicated, when I got to BC, my inbox was inundated with emails from my new professors, the countless clubs I had just impulsively joined, and the political science listserv I signed up for that reminded me about speakers who were coming in the next couple weeks. I diligently added all these dates and events to my calendar, but I never really intended to go. Every time a notification popped up, I convinced myself that I was too busy to attend or not interested enough in this one event. After a few weeks of classes, however, I finally managed to drag myself to one of these talks. I was not ecstatic about missing dinner after my four hours of classes ended at 6pm, but my conscience (and my mom) told me that I shouldn’t miss out on opportunities like these. After all, where else would I be able to see world famous politicians, celebrities, and activists all in one place after college?
Since then, I have honestly lost count of how many speakers I’ve seen on campus. Most people only go for extra credit or when they’re required, but if you see an announcement for an event that piques your interest, the hour that it takes out of your Netflix bingeing is well worth it—trust me, I know from experience. These talks are great opportunities to gain a different perspective on a widely discussed topic or even to learn about something completely new. Our daily schedules can sometimes feel like we’re in an educational rut. Taking the same five classes week after week each semester can stop being intellectually stimulating after a while. Hearing from speakers outside the university provides opinions other than those of your professors. The fact that most speakers come from other colleges and organizations allows students to hear from people who may not agree with BC’s views on certain issues. It’s important to hear both sides of every debate, and this exposure lets us weigh the information we hear and come to our own conclusions.
There are still some nights when I feel like I have to force myself to see a speaker, but I always remind myself that I may never get the chance to see or hear from this person again. Although my friends may tease me for going to these “boring” talks, I actually enjoy them once I’m there and I never regret making the time to go. It is important that we make the most of these opportunities and resources that Boston College is presenting to us, helping us to broaden our horizons, learn about new ideas, and increase our knowledge about current events—all from the comfort of our own campus.