Receiving my Cultural Routes Invitation was a whirlwind of an experience. I awoke at 11 o’clock PST on Tuesday, December 18th. I had previously decided that I was going to start my vacation days the “old-fashioned way”, so I got up and went downstairs to cook breakfast and read a physical newspaper. Eventually, I picked up my phone and saw that Ryal Reddick, a CR Alumni, had texted me. Ryal was the current President of our fraternity Beta Theta Pi, and I did not think much of his message. He said that he made a Christmas video for the “guys” and he wanted me to look it.
I opened up the video and see a vague message from Santa, and my first thought was, “Wow Ryal really went all out on this message. I’m surprised the fraternity has the budget for the Santa and all the holiday decorations.” Then, Dr. Pitcock appears on screen, which was still on brand in my mind because Dr. P was a Beta in college, and out of nowhere he says that I will be meeting him in Berlin for Cultural Routes 11.
At that moment, I knew this could not be a fraternity message because Beta definitely does not have the budget to fly everyone to Berlin. I then also realized that this video was the acceptance for the program that I had applied for in November. At that moment, my world was shaken. I had just been given the opportunity to explore Europe for college credit, while becoming close friends with the most amazing TCU students in the class of 2022.
Once I regained my wits, I decided that I was going to play it cool with Ryal and send him a text that was purely a critique of the video. I said the video was really good, but I thought the transitions were a little cheesy. I then waited a few minutes, and when I could not hold it in any longer, I told him I was also incredibly excited to be going on CR!
Later that day I was sitting in my car when I realized I still had to record a response video for Dr. P. Overall. My Social Media game is very poor, but I knew that I had hours worth of movie knowledge to fall back on. I envisioned this video conveying an upbeat, ecstatic message, but I was feeling a mixture of shock, confusion, excitement, uncertainty, and honor at being selected. In the end, I decided that all of those emotions could be summed up as excitement. I chose to sing the song, “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang while use a little shaky camera to add extra emotion. While it was neither Oscar nor Golden Globe worthy, I was very proud of my voice for not cracking when I missed every note in “woohoo” and how passionate I appeared despite still being in a state of disbelief over my acceptance. That moment signified the first of my many CR moments of self-discovery: I could be a decent director if my engineering plans falls through.
Speaking of self-discovery, Dr. P asked us to list some of my goals for CR. So, without further ado, I want to…
- Learn more about what makes me tick. I believe college is an important time for developing strong self-identity. Often students end up hurting themselves socially by tying their identity to their surroundings, rather than personal self-truths. I hope that a break from my surroundings will allow me to focus on what makes Brent Hewitt, Brent Hewitt.
- Establish meaningful relationships with the rest of the CR familia. While relationships become easier when you are forced to interact with the same people on a daily basis, quality friendships take work. I do not want to miss out on getting to know someone on this trip for a lack of trying. I would love to learn what continuously motivates these individuals to be exceptional.
- Say yes to as much as possible! You can only go on CR once, so I hope to seize every opportunity.
Hopefully I will not only achieve these goals, but also grow in ways that I do not anticipate. I am so excited to be leaving in just a few days; Berlin here I come!