“In life what sometimes appears to be the end is really a new beginning”
Imagine an event that ties together present, future and past. One that causes you to look forward to the years to come, and also causes you to look back on the years past and reflect on the journey you’ve been on. One that is personal to you, but also connects you to a countless amount of others. For me, that event is The Walk.
The Walk has a special place in my heart, and could likely be the most beloved by OBU students and alumni. The Walk is something that ties your first week on Bison Hill with your last. During Welcome Week, you will take the same walk that you will take to your graduation ceremony senior year – from the Oval fountain to the steps of Raley Chapel. During freshman year, your peers, professors and community gather to welcome you in. Senior year, your professors line the sidewalk to celebrate and give you one last hug before you walk across the stage. You’re probably not crying yet, but I definitely am! This place will be your home for a short time, but will forever feel like home in your heart!
The Walk is by far my favorite tradition. Allow me to reminisce a bit, and you’ll see why. I remember my very first Walk as a freshman. I had fresh eyes – excited and nervous – not sure what to expect of the next 4 years. Quite honestly, 4 years seemed so far away. We walked silently (and a bit awkwardly) between the upperclassmen who had guided us through Welcome Week, then through staff, faculty and other OBU family – and I had no idea how deep an impact they would have in my life yet. We filed into the front steps of Raley, and stood in a solemn silence. All of a sudden, the sea of upperclassmen in front of us erupted in cheers – welcoming us home.
As an upperclassman, I got to participate in the walk in a different way. I got to be the one to walk through Welcome Week with the new freshman. I got to do The Walk beside them, and then startle them with excitement and cheering at the end – so excited for them to embark on the journey I was loving so much.
Senior year came so fast – I couldn’t believe I was doing my last Welcome Week as a student, and the time to do the much anticipated Walk to graduation was approaching. This new class was embarking on their new journey, and I was completing mine. The day of graduation, we were worried The Walk would be cancelled because of rain (this seems to happen almost every year), but thankfully when the time came, The Walk prevailed. We walked with similar excitement and nervousness (and much nostalgia). As I walked I remembered my freshman year, unsure of what the next four years held. Now I look back on those four years and find I received so much more than I could ever imagine. Walking through my professors lining the sidewalk, tears filled my eyes as I hugged some of them and saw the pride in their eyes. They had walked through those 4 years with me, and were now sending me off to the next new thing.
Now I get to attend The Walk with a different perspective. As an admissions counselor, I’ve walked with the new freshman class through the chaos of senior year and making their decision to attend OBU. I’ve gotten to laugh and cry and dream with them. And now I get to watch them do their first Walk, with the same excitement and nervousness in their eyes. I get to imagine with them what their next 4 years will be like, while I remember my four years I’ve experienced and hope theirs are just as rich as mine.
Jessi Masterson, Admissions Counselor