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COLUMN: An Artistic Commitment

Outside The Lines

Heights Editor

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 13, 2013 16:12

Several people have told me recently that this was the year I broke out of my shell. It was the year that I opened up to other people outside my close friend group, moving beyond the days that I was painfully shy, and intstead willing to be myself—whatever that means. It was the year I took on more responsibilities, showed my potential as an editor of this organization, and came into my own: breaking out of my shell.

I absolutely hate that phrase.

Aside from its overtly cliche nature, the phrase just conjures unpleasant images in my head. I picture a turtle sticking its head out from beneath its hard exterior, and I would rather not be compared to a slow-moving reptile. I imagine a vibrant yellow yolk dripping out of its eggshell, and I cringe at the thought of being a slimy liquid about to be fried in butter and morning hunger. I’m not a shell—I’m a human. I don’t have an impenetrable wall surrounding me, waiting to be broken down. I like to give hugs, and I will laugh with you until I’m at the point of tears. I listen to Katy Perry on repeat and can sing the entirety of the Pitch Perfect “Riff-Off” by myself. I’d like to think that I’m a little more fun than just a shell.

The unfortunate reality is that not every person gets to see the side of us that we want them to see, no matter how hard we try. And despite the concept of self-expression, whether in class, with friends, or through the arts, it’s nearly impossible to convey the entirety of the self at any given moment.

When I look back at the past few years, at all the moments that may have contributed to the revelation of my inner “self” to the people around me, there’s one moment that really forced me to break out of my “shell:” joining The Heights.

I came to Boston College as someone who wasn’t entirely sure that she wanted to even stay here. I was hoping to finish a semester, look at transfer applications, and be on my merry way, for an assortment of reasons. However, I can honestly say that joining this organization—a decision I was hesitant to make—was a large part of my decision to stay. The Heights has helped me find my voice not only as a writer, but as a thinker. As a laugher. As a teller of stories. And as a lover of all things BC. It was a commitment, which sounded like a scary word to a freshman who was still trying to figure everything out, but I’m glad I’ve decided to have an exclusive relationship with this publication and the beautiful people that make up our family.

This semester in particular, I can probably name the point when I “broke out of my shell,” as they say—when I decided to leave the comfort of the Features section and venture into the Arts section. I had covered some on-campus events, written some album reviews, and came to the conclusion that joining the section could be fun, exciting, and unexpected, but it could also be a challenge. And I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it—after all, how much do I really know about the arts?
But I remembered the commitment I made—the decision to be faithful—and just couldn’t abandon the one thing that influenced me to stay. This newspaper, with its writing, photography, creative layouts, and graphic designs, is an art form in and of itself. Maybe it’s possible that I know more about the arts than I initially thought.

Art, in whatever form, isn’t merely about knowing. It’s about the commitment—a commitment that every single student on this campus has made at some point in his or her life, and probably at some moment here at BC. I’d like to hear about those commitments: the things that make our students, our faculty, and our alumni continue doing what they love, whether through performing, working behind the scenes, or anywhere in between. In my year with the Arts section, perhaps I can chronicle their stories and their commitments manifested in artistic expression.

While some may say that I’m breaking out of my shell with this new section, I see it more as a rediscovering of my own commitment and a realization of my own place in the arts. This column is just the beginning, and I fully intend to extend my promise beyond the page of this newspaper—to all of the committed artists just waiting to have their stories told.


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