Well the time has come for the last mystory assignment of English 1000. Overall, I think these writings have lead to a great deal of self-reflection. They have also lead me back to strategic thinking with an academic mindset, instead of a tactical one, due to relating the mystory back to the Civil War and finding connections between both. As far as this final chapter in my series, I think Community has the greatest possibility of expansion from the original topic. I find myself today is a strange spot when I think of community.
To begin talking about I lived in Columbia about ten years ago, then moved to Lee’s Summit, MO. I attended schools in the neighboring Blue Springs School District. I never really felt at home in either city or community. I moved from Columbia late in my high school career, and it was a very rough change. At the time I had grown very fond of Columbia. I had a good tight knit circle of friends, had been driving long enough to get my bearing on the city and I enjoyed the school that I attended. When my family told me that we were moving it hit hard. The transition to Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs South the following fall was hard to say the least. I had to learn where I fit in again, meet new people and try to basically start my life over. The school had different rules, different social groups, and I had to start from scratch fitting in. I did not feel like I was a part of the Blue Springs community, nor that of the Lee’s Summit community. I felt like my soul was stuck in a different place, which made it that much harder to connect with the people of my new community. As I spent more time at the new school, and met new people I began to start to fit into a group of people, and life started to continue on like it always does, but I still missed Columbia. I came out from time to time to hang out with old friends, but it was never for long term and I eventually grew apart from my old friends. I still felt attached to Columbia however.
Eventually I moved from the suburbs of Kansas City to the actual city, near the neighborhood of Westport. I enjoyed living the city life for a while, but eventually was able to make it into the Marine Corps. The journey began in San Diego, California for me. It took me to the east coast in North Carolina for about six months, and eventually back to California. I fell in love with Southern California once I arrived. Whether being a bum on the beach in San Diego or driving along the multitudes of highways in Los Angeles county trying to find a beloved In N Out, I felt somehow at home.There are so many people that you can always find like-minded people to hang out with, or new people with new points of views and attitudes to discover. This led me to one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. Stay in California to attend school, or return to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri.
Well, unless you stumbled randomly upon my blog, you know that the answer to the question was that I returned to Missouri. The main reason that I returned was the cost of tuition, and the veteran’s benefits in Missouri, as opposed to California. The University of Missouri is also one of the best schools in the country for veterans. There is a dedicated Veteran’s Center, as well as grant money allocated specifically for veterans to have free tutoring. I also qualify for the Missouri returning Heroes Act, which helps to reduce my per-credit hour tuition. This is just the modern aspect of a school that has been linked to veterans since before the Civil War.
When you look around campus at students walking around you typically see a diverse blend of every background from religion to race to hair color to style. One common thread is people are generally in a hurry, moving fast with headphones in trying to make it to class on time. This leads me to believe that most students walk by the various monuments and historical buildings and structures on campus, oblivious to their meaning, history and relation. You can actually start back before the Civil War. Construction on Academic Hall was begun in 1840 and concluded with the dedication in 1843. (umcspace.missouri.edu) Academic Hall was the original main building of the campus, and it was built with bricks and limestone mined and fired here in Central Missouri. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_Hall) It housed Union soldiers during the Civil War and was used as a prison for captured Confederates. During the war many volumes of books from the original library, also housed in Academic Hall, were used to start fires for the Union troops. In 1892 there was an electrical fire, caused by faulty wiring used for light bulbs, which caused Academic Hall to burn down. This left one of the most iconic symbols of Mizzzou…. The Columns.
This isn’t the only relation between the University and the Civil War. The Missouri Tigers, long before they defended the Kansas Jayhawks from scoring on the gridiron, were a militia group that was started to defend Columbia against the anti-slave guerillas from Kansas known as the Jayhawkers. (www.mcwm.org) Missouri was introduced to the nation as a slave state in 1819 (www.history.com). Our neighbor to the west, Kansas, was a free state. This led to bloody battles between the two states, which began in the 1840’s and culminated with the Civil War. This violent hostility eventually ended, but one of the longest rivalries in college sports was born. The Border War between MU and KU lasted from 1899 till 2012, when Missouri left the Big 12 Conference and entered the SEC. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_War) While the official rivalry may be over, I still continue my personal hatred of the Jayhawks, KU and basically Kansas in general. I can imagine this sentiment exists in many of the students, faculty and alumni of Mizzou to this day. Thousands of students walk beneath the archway at Memorial Union every day, and those that know a bit of it’s history will remove their hats out of respect. I can also believe that many do not because they don’t understand the significance of the gesture. Construction for Memorial Union began in 1921. It is a memorial built for the 116 Mizzou students, staff and alumni who died in WW1. As you walk under the arch, you can look up and see the names of the 116 fallen forever etched into the stone of the walkway.(www.mizzou.com) Memorial Union now houses a memorial to remember all Missouri fallen, from WW1 to present.
When I moved back to Columbia from California I think I was expecting to feel like I was back home. I was halfway hoping that I would be able to gain back what I felt I lost in high school. Columbia has changed substantially since I moved, and so have I. I have done a lot of growing up since I left, and upon return I feel once again like I am on the outside looking in. However, when I am on campus I feel at home. I feel like I am part of the community of the University of Missouri, that somehow my past melds with my present well here. I am a student veteran, a student of my college, CAFNR, and I can finally root for the Tigers as a student, not just a resident of Columbia. As much as I feel at home on campus, the city surrounding it has changed so much that I no longer feel at home. I miss California, the highways, the entertainment, and the people. I am considering transferring to the University of California, San Diego for my junior year, but I still have my suspicions. What if I move back and its more of the same? What if I feel as disconnected with that community as I d with my current one? I know that if I stay in Columbia to finish my degree I will leave with a great education. The same can be said for UCSD. If I do decided to move there is no second chance. One thing I know for certain is that as I progress in life and finish my education I want to move forward. Find a new home, a new community. I have learned that I should always move forward, because when you go back to the past, especially to a place you have loved, that it will never be the same.