Waking up to reality and leaving the comfort zone

By Shannon King
January 30, 2003

Angelina Wagner

It’s amazing how most of us spend our entire youth trying to grow up, but once we get there we want to turn around and go back. When you’re a child you really have nothing to worry about other than skinned knees and trying to milk a couple of more hours of playtime out of your parents. In high school you try so hard to be a grown up, but still want the pleasures of freedom and the lack of responsibilities.

College is where most of us really start looking to the future, but even then, not until senior year. Every year you have the security of knowing that you will be right back in Founders Hall next year. Not until you’re a senior does it kick in that the halls you’ll be walking next year are totally uncertain. In many ways I wish I could have just one more year of certainty.

One of the hardest things to deal with as we get older is to accept very adult situations. One of these situations came a couple of weeks ago as two of our classmates, Kate Dilworth and Devon Spratling, were called to war.

Dilworth is a sergeant in the Marines and Spratling, is in the National Guard. This news was extremely hard to swallow. Dilworth always talked about being a Marine, but in the back of my mind I never thought she would be activated to actually go to war. In a lot of ways I feel like we’re too young to be worrying about our friends being thrown into combat. Maybe I just haven’t seen us, until now, as the prime generation to be called upon. This generation being “old enough.”

I remember that as I graduated high school, even as a female, I received plenty of calls from Army recruiters who played on the emotions of students who really didn’t have the money to pay for college. They promised tuition reimbursement and great perks. Several people in my graduating class did sign up. In 1999 there really was no fear of war and most of the people who signed up reluctantly used just that as a way to make themselves feel better about their enlistment, “It’s not like we’ll be going to war or anything.” Four years later, these same people are facing their worst fears.

I find it interesting that as much as we all wanted to grow up, we totally ignored the things that would affect us the most. We’ve all turned the channel when the news started to talk war and we flipped the newspaper pages when we saw the words Saddam, Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore. I don’t think too many of us will be.

To Sgt. Dilworth and Spratling, and anyone else I may not have known about, good luck over there and come home safe.

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Shannon King

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