What scares you? Is it creepy bugs? Bone-chilling horror films? Are you afraid of heights? Or could it be something as simple as terrifying as the midnight darkness?
Well, what scares me is something quite different. What scares me is not material, not tangible. What scares me cannot be seen, nor can it be heard. What scares me is change. Not changes in a class schedule, or changes in a daily diet. What scares me are the changes we experience as we move throughout our lives – changes that redefine our lives.
As I prepare to arrive at the conclusion of my collegiate career, I have begun to contemplate my next significant life change – a life beyond Bloomsburg University of PA. The beginning of the rest of my life.
As I search for answers, I look to Anikka Brill, a recent graduate of Bloomsburg University and current student in BU’s speech pathology and audiology graduate program. While this 22-year-old college graduate from Elizabethtown, PA may seem similar to the hundreds of thousands of other successful American students, what lies beneath is vastly different. The change Anikka has undergone over the past several months is unique to say the least.
Unlike the average college student, Anikka’s college experience was not defined by simply here academic excellence, but also by her involvement in extracurricular activities. Anikka, during her senior year, was the president of the Community Government Association, BU’s student government. A position that many of the University’s faculty and staff regard as “more than a full time job”.
One short year ago, Anikka was atop one of the most well-run and resourceful student governments in the state of Pennsylvania. Along with a full-time staff and fifty-member student senate, Anikka was in charge of BU’s student government, as well as the Association’s $30 million in assets. Throughout the course of her presidency, Anikka conversed daily with the University’s most significant and influential figures. Oftentimes, she even found herself in the state capital, Harrisburg, PA, lobbying state representatives and senators for sufficient funding for her University.
Fast-forward to present day, however, and the scenery has changed. She no longer finds herself amongst the prestigious members of society. Rather, she finds herself in a classroom, with children no older than the age eight.
Anikka is no longer using scholarly words or phrases; she is teaching the next generation to say words as simple as school.
Anikka is no longer planning events for 10,000 college students; she is planning lessons for three to five children.
Anikka no longer has 24-hour access to campus buildings, or has priority parking in campus parking lots; Anikka is parking in the Black Lot, the commuter student parking lot.
Without a doubt, Anikka’s life has drastically changed. One phase of her life has passed, and another has arrived. When asked how she felt about her new lifestyle, she responded in simple terms, “I love it.”
Digging deeper, I asked Anikka whether, or not she had any regrets. Her words were not only powerful, but also inspiring: “No, I have no regrets. Sure, it’s difficult acclimating to a life in the real world. But I feel as though everything I did in college set me up to be the person I am right now. Perhaps I could have gone on to be the next president, but I am doing what I love. And if that means a longer walk to my car, than so be it.”
With her comfort in her new life, I, the current student president of Bloomsburg University, don’t feel so scared any longer.