Boston College was never my dream school. In fact, it was in my bottom two.
Perhaps it was hubris, but I never doubted for a second that I would be accepted to BC. I had the grades, I had the SAT scores, and I went to a Jesuit high school. Piece of cake.
What I had not expected to happen is that I would not be accepted into any of the schools higher up on my list. Harvard, nope. UChicago, sorry. Duke, was nice talkin’ to ya.
That may have been one of the luckiest things to have ever have happened to me. I fell in love with the school. The campus, the culture, the sports, the campus, the people, oh and did I mention the campus?
But the one thing that I think I most admire about Boston College: its proclivity to build heroes.
Every year, the nation mourns what occurred on September 11, 2001. But for those of us at Boston College, we don’t mourn. Rather we honor and celebrate the life of one of our own, the Man in the Red Bandanna, Welles Crowther, who lost his life helping to save twelve people from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
We watch that ESPN feature on repeat, we wear red bandannas all around campus, we contemplate whether our lives will have the same impact as his, and we beat ranked football teams and for what? Because of the inspiration he sparks in us to live out the motto that is beaten into our brains from the first day we step onto Boston College’s campus: Men and Women for Others.
Just yesterday, Pete Frates, former Boston College center fielder, relaunched the Ice Bucket Challenge at Fenway Park with a new motto: Every August Til A Cure. The inspiration for last year’s wave of viral videos that helped raise 31.5 million dollars for ALS research and care, Pete is continuing to wave the banner, despite deteriorating health, for the lives of at least 350,000 people worldwide who fight ALS.
I have friends from Boston College who are, right now, serving or committed to serving communities in Bolivia, China, New Orleans, Thailand, and a gazillion other places, some of which I hadn’t heard of, despite the presence of danger or lack of amenities.
These are the people who inspire me. The men and women who encourage me to be better. The men and women for others. These are my heroes. And I can’t help but feel that at least in some part, their time at BC had something to do with it.
Featured image courtesy of John Tlumacki/Boston Globe.