Kaden’s Comments: The power of a small college

Kaden Gass, Staff Writer

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The power of a small college. It’s a slogan so simple, yet so complex when you think about it. When I look back on my four years at Linfield, it’s easy to gloss over all that this school has given me. Four years ago when I walked onto this campus as a freshman, I thought I was the hottest shit and acted like it, too. I thought everyone loved me and, God was I wrong.

I’ve met people who went from being my best friends to a shadow of the past, and have experienced hardships and challenges that have shaped me into the person I am today. That, my friends, is life.

Now, you would think that all these experiences would make Linfield suck, and at the time when I was facing these challenges it very much did. I even considered transferring. 

But, when I look back on my past and everything that I’ve faced, I’ve realized that this school not only helped me excel, but move mountains. The power of a small college.

My freshman year I was out as gay to everyone but my family. I remember I was so grateful to have a dorm like Frerichs and have friends in the Linfield community that made me feel safe to grow and express myself and my sexuality. I was able to explore my beliefs in a safe space surrounded by those who loved me and I will forever cherish the moments that made me me. 

I’ve been harassed, teased, made fun of and mocked, but is it weird to say I don’t care? This school has given me the courage to be free. Of course there’s going to be a price and people that don’t agree with you, but I’d rather be happy than afraid.

Even though I played sports in high school, I was never good enough to go D-III, so when I moved here I was one of those students who didn’t have an immediate team to bond with and that was hard, to be honest. 

One day I discovered Linfield Volleyball and (off of a whim) I asked if I could be apart of the team. I had no formal background in the sport, I’d only ever played with my mom everyday in the backyard after school. 

So why would they say yes to someone like me? I don’t know, but they did. And that changed my life here more than you know.

I’ve discovered so much about myself in the past four years at Linfield. What I like to do, the people I want surround myself with, not caring about others opinions, and striving to do what I love. I’ve grown so much as a person. I’ve made mistakes that I regret, burned bridges with those that I loved, and hurt those closest to me. But from those mistakes, I’ve built the person that I want to be and continue to construct as life goes on.

I never thought seven words and a single sentence could change my life in such a monumental way, but it did. My time at this school felt short, but at the same time I’ve learned so much. I’ve had my ups and my downs, have lost and learned and wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

To anyone reading this, big or small or young or old, ask yourself this: how did the power of a small college transform you and where is it taking you?