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Stratton Smith

Let Me Tell You My Story

by Stratton Smith | Sep 07, 2016

What’s up everyone! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Stratton! I'll be popping up on your social media feeds in the future! I feel that it's only fair that I share with you my story. Everyone has a story and every single one of them matters. There are some really amazing people that go unnoticed by 95% of the rest of the campus. Everyone on campus knows your name or face, but we don't know crap about one another. So since you may be a little on the shy side, let me tell you about my beginning at Manchester.

Move-in day. Freshman year of college. Everything was going to plan that morning. The cars were all jam-packed with items essential to every freshman’s first year at Manchester. Ramen, clothes I’d soon grow out of (it made me look a little buff so I thought I was cool), a calculator I’d never use, aaaaaaaand the rest, I’m sure, is just gross, boy stuff. The last piece to the puzzle was that my girlfriend (her name’s Jess, she’s pretty great) at the time was going to drive a few minutes from her house and we would all get me packed and settled at Manchester, where I’d spend my four years and live happily-ever-after (:

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... only that didn’t happen. Jess didn’t make it to my house that day. Jess was in a serious car accident only a few minutes from both our houses. Little did I know, my first day as a Manchester Spartan would be the most tragic, heart-wrenching, agonizing day of my young life.  

LetMeTellYouMyStory

Jess swerved off the road that morning and ended up spending the next three, long months in a coma. Fast-forwarding to today, Jess is not Jess. She still cannot walk. She still cannot talk much. She’s... not her and there are very few days when her face doesn’t flash across my mind. That day I lost my best friend.

LetMeTellYouMyStory

Buuuuuuut now sad story-time is over. It’s really not my thing. I tell you all this, not because I want sympathy, tears or even a heartfelt message. I’m telling this story to emphasize how much I love the people who helped me at Manchester. I’m going to be honest. I would not have made it at Manchester if it were not for a few people my freshman year, and regrettably, I’m not talking about dropping out.

I will always have the utmost gratitude and thankfulness towards two special English professors who I will be forever indebted to. You know who you are. One even pointed me to Manchester’s counseling department, which led me to getting more help, which led me to discover the world of mental health, which if I had not started caring about, like I said, it’s hard to say I’d be here. *INTERRUPTS BLOG TO ADVISE EVERYONE STRUGGLING TO GET YOUR BROKEN BUTTS TO HEALTH SERVICES BECAUSE IT’S FREE AND THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT YOU*

Looking at myself today, I can honestly say I love Manchester. No BS. I’ve experienced more pain and suffering through the walls of Manchester that I would not wish on anyone. I’ve had the most euphoric happiness through the walls of Manchester that I wish on everyone. I fell in love at Manchester. I fell out of love at Manchester (girls are the devil). Through this university’s walls, I’ve grown. Not saying it wasn’t tough and a battle, but I’ve grown to truly be in love with myself. Though, it’s pivotal to this movie we call life, loving yourself still isn’t what I hope you can take away from this (even though if you do, I’ll love you forever).

My point of my story is that... you know me. If you’re a student here, you’ve known me 1-3 years. You’ve walked past me on your way to class. You've eaten lunch with me. You've played basketball with me. Maybe you've seen me perform on stage... But you've never heard that story. You all think you know this “Strat” guy, but why is this the first time hearing that story? BECAUSE WE DON'T TALK TO EACH OTHER! There are people broken inside that you sit next to in your accounting class. Okay, that’s a terrible example. My mind was broken every day in accounting class, but you get what I’m saying. Four years and I think I might have an explanation. People care what other people think too much. Everyone is just tooooo coooooool foooooor schooooool. Everyone thinks their problems are priority over everyone else’s. My advice: talk to the kid pounding his head against the desk in accounting (me), because you could make their day. I had a guy freshman year (okay, I’ve started this sentence weird) say, “You look good today, man” and I still remember it three years later. Not because no one has ever complimented me or said nice things to me, but a stranger showed me kindness when I was on the verge of falling apart... and it made me cry like a female dog when I got back to my room. It’s absolutely amazing what a spark of kindness can do to a broken soul. That’s why I do what I do now.

My junior year I made it my mission to make people smile and laugh. That's just what I genuinely wanted out of that year. I talked to so many strangers about so many things that were weird. Dude, I'm not kidding. I talked to this one guy about his pet Tarantula that does "tricks" and I walked away from the conversation a changed man (but equally as scrawny and dorky). My point there is, you don't know someone unless you open your mouth and talk to someone outside your ten friends on campus you hang out with.

I will always say that I finally felt comfortable in my own shoes my junior year of college, and it’s made me into a person that I am happy with. Not content. I'm HAPPY with who I am. This all happened because I came to Manchester. I could've gone to IU, joined a frat, worn a few pairs of sperries and called it a good four years. I could have gone to Ball State and not even remembered my four years of college (Chirp Chirp). That's not what happened, though. I was put into an environment where professors cared about me, lunch-swiping ladies held my heart, and where I've had my happiest and most tragic moments. I wouldn't have wanted to struggle anywhere other than Manchester.

StrattonSmith
Stratton Smith ’17 is an English major, hailing from a small town just east of Indianapolis. Stratton is the captain of the tennis team, co-founder of Academic Probation, Manchester's improv troupe, and Vice President of the Theatre & Society club.