Go and do good

Can it really be the end of the year? Already? Have I really been at Maryville College for the last four years? These are the questions that have been circling in my head lately as the end of my senior year has come.

I keep thinking that I need more time—there is more to learn, more to do and more to love. Eighteen years of my life were not spent in this place, yet now it is hard to imagine myself anywhere but here. But graduation is unavoidable. It is time to leave for a new adventure, one that is far from these mountains that have captured my heart and call me back again and again.

These past few weeks, I have been soaking up my time left at MC. I have become increasingly nostalgic and find myself thinking about Isaac Anderson’s words more and more. “Do good on the largest possible scale,” says the founder of this great place. Do good.

I am slowly developing a new understanding of what Anderson meant. Maybe this little motto that we at MC have taken to heart does not necessarily mean that we need to be the best, but rather do good things for the people we will be lucky enough to interact with. Maybe it is not about how perfect we can pretend to be thanks to our liberal arts education, but rather how that liberal arts education has equipped us to be people of integrity, strength and passion.

Clearly this has more to do with my own fears than what Anderson had in mind. Am I worthy of Maryville College if I do not go on to do amazing, big things in this world? Will I live up to the alums who have come before me, the ones I have heard about during Reverend Anne McKee’s sermon each homecoming weekend during the annual memorial service? I have been told over and over again to do good on the largest possible scale, but what if I do not succeed?

I am adjusting my thoughts on this. Anderson was a Presbyterian minister. I am willing to bet that he trusted in the grace of Jesus Christ. If Anderson could trust in that, then I must be willing to bet that “do good on the largest possible scale” has lots of room for mistakes and fresh starts. And maybe the largest possible scale looks different for every person who leaves this place.

I wonder what it looks like for the teachers that MC equips the world with. I cannot even imagine how many lives those teachers will touch. Or the interpreters, the scientists, the vets, the lawyers, or the preachers?

Maryville is sending out people whose lives have been changed by a small school. Maryville College does massive amounts of good in a place where change seems to circulate in the air and passion for the world takes hold.

I know that I have been changed by this place, as have the rest of the seniors who are leaving this spring. As painful and scary as it may be to leave, we are ready. We have been taught well and have been shown wonderful examples of how to do good work in the world. We are now equipped to touch the lives of others and see people and love them for who they are. We are ready to go out into the world and do good, even good on the largest possible scale.

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