If I had to rest my finger on a single reason that I am a part of Valley today, I suppose I’d have to point to serendipity. It was that all-too-delayed spring heat, those beams that filtered through glass panes of the classroom windows as the light passed between some of my peers, ones who either slept through lecture or winced in pain as their hands cramped from overly-aggressive note taking. It was that very same sunshine that illuminated the stack of Valley Magazines on the front desk.
I picked up an idle copy of Valley and read it cover to cover, every word. It was a good day.
But the pages of the magazine I had yet to read eventually dwindled down to nil, and I was left with a hunger for more; perhaps a craving.
To me, Valley sheds light on the questions that hide inside all college students whether it be an indecisive tattoo, a questionable fashion trend or a fresh perspective on a campus tradition.
Yet as I sat in my lecture, now actively pursuing more articles to read on the Valley website, I began to wonder if Valley would appreciate another male writer. I wanted to know if a chorus of female contributors could use another baritone.
I will be the first to agree with anyone who believes I am in touch with my feminine side. Sure, if you judge a book by its cover, anyone could see that my sense of style is peculiar to say the least. But when you dive into the content, you will understand why.
I will never forget the lessons I was fortunate enough to receive from my childhood as I was being raised by a single mother. Alongside a load of tenets to stand by, four words stuck out in particular and were used so often, they became an acronym: FLLR (pronounced “flur”).
These are the four words with which my mother raised me, hoping that FLLR would keep me out of trouble and give me my own perspective of right and wrong.
As the newest male writer for Valley, I knew these four words would be the link between me and my new peers.
Set attainable goals that you want to achieve for yourself, not because someone wants you to change.
Don’t let a bunch of small problems cause a larger one later.
Maintain eye contact, approach people with a smile and speak with passion.
Don’t just hear the words someone else is saying, understand them and respond appropriately.
Not only from your mistakes, but from your successes as well.
Actively pursue knowledge regardless of experience.
Strive to understand why things work, not just how.
Treating others how you would want to be treated might not always be the best:
Treat others how they would like to be treated instead.
Expect compliments to be given often and received when earned, not the other way around.
From my mom, I have learned how to see a beautiful world for what it truly is. This is the beginning of my journey through Valley, a yellow brick road that I know I am meant to follow.
Photo provided by Christopher Covert