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  • Connor Pohlman

Mission 100 Days: The Greatest Lie We’ve Ever Told Ourselves

By: Connor Pohlman


To be completely honest, as I was nearing the end of my high school days and planning the next steps of my life, I treated the college process like a joke. There’s no two ways about it. I guess 17 year-old me didn’t have my future at the top of my priority list. I finally came to a decision and chose Canisius College, the same school where my brother was just about to graduate from. Budding with sports journalism excitement, I felt that this place was the best spot for me in that regard. That turned out to be quite true, except for one small caveat – my interests changed in the latter half of my sophomore year, leaving a kid with ambitious artistic interests to pursue a journalism degree. I began to understand that in order to truly understand the experience of life, I had to start creating expectations without explanation.


As the months went by and I hopefully matured, I became grateful, realizing that the fields I wanted to pursue – acting, writing, and directing – were all really just journalism at its core, and some anthropology mixed in as well. It’s all really the study of people; why they do the things they do, why they don’t, etc. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up in my 21 years of existence on this earth, it’s that people never cease to amaze me in their complexities. Something I enjoy doing is to try and diagnose what makes people uniquely human in comparison to our other organism friends, and that complexity is certainly one of them. If I hadn’t ever come to this seemingly obvious realization, I would have still been lost when people asked me what I was going to college for or what I study. Not wanting to give them a false perception of myself while also trying to explain what I actually want to do after school, I found myself stumbling over my words trying to explain my conundrum. Now, thankfully, I can give them an avant-garde answer, leaving them more confused than when they first asked me. I answer, “I study people.” 


For someone whose thesis of this piece is that we need each other, I sure have focused on just myself an awful lot up to this point, but, hey, I don’t make the rules. Take it up with the Opinion Editor of this paper. So now, I guess it’s time for me to reinforce what I am trying to say with my title. As college students entering new phases of lives, we are often told that we need to be independent, that we can do anything we want and we can do it by ourselves; that we don’t need anybody else. While I think this maturation process is necessary, if taken out of context, it’s utterly destructive to our humanity. We need each other, and nothing is ever truly done alone. There’s a reason why solitary confinement is a punishment. 


Don’t take this from me, I only now know this because of who I have welcomed into my life, and that list doesn’t start without mentioning my parents and brother, who have granted me unconditional support in everything I do, and my girlfriend, Gabby Kaderli, who when writing this I’m happy to say I’m celebrating my 1-year anniversary with. In my first couple of years at Canisius, I wouldn’t exactly involve myself on campus, except for a little paper called The Griffin. She challenged the boundaries I had put up for myself and she forced me to grow, and I hope I’ve returned the favor to her in any way I can. I’d be remiss not to thank her when talking about this. I can attribute you and every person I’ve met here to crafting the young man that I am today and I am eternally grateful. 


Those of you who know me also know I’ve become deeply rooted in my faith, and if there’s any fortune cookie advice I can give the reader of this it is this: Find your faith. It doesn’t have to be like mine or anyone else’s, but find it and become rooted in it, because you will then inherently be a part of a shared experience, and no longer alone. It’s selfless, and to me that’s what true love is – selflessness. I want to mention two scriptures that have spoken to me deeply recently, especially when letting this theme marinate inside of me. It starts with Luke 10:29-37, or more commonly known as the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”. The Samaritans were infamously looked down upon by most Israelites, but the Samaritan who comes across the beaten man on the side of the road is the only one who helps him, after the beaten man was passed by many others of his own kind. The Samaritan bandages the man, gives him shelter, and ensures his health and safety. Jesus asks the man he is speaking with to name the neighbor of the beaten man. 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” 


I also want to mention Matthew 25:31-40, where Jesus is explaining how God wants us to live. He says “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” 


I’ve talked enough in this piece, so I’ll just leave The Word as it is, so you make take it as you will. 


So to every person I’ve met, every inch of ground I’ve walked on, and every place that I’ve stood in, thank you for everything. As for Canisius, I am forever indebted to you. I don’t like asking for things, but there’s just one wish of mine that I have to ask of you; that’s to allow the next person who comes to this school confused and anxious to meet that person, walk that ground, occupy that space, say their piece, or laugh that laugh that will shape them, as you have shaped me. You’ll be in my heart forever, and I hope I’ve done enough to keep yours beating too. 


~Connor 




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