As this column rapidly approaches its conclusion (relax or groan, there’s one more), I find myself having stepped over the threshold into a newly repurposed and reinvigorated life. I was finally received into full membership in the Catholic Church this Easter weekend, and I see not just a finale to this collegiate chapter, but the beginning of a life lived in full communion with Christ and His Church.
Along with many of my commissioning peers, I am wrestling with the fear that I will be an inadequate or insufficient leader who cannot earn the respect of her soldiers. No one is going to care much about the “small liberal arts school outside of Boston” printed on my diploma, nor about my senior thesis topic, nor about the final club fiasco. They will see through any pretending or pretense in an instant, and the road to earning the respect of my subordinates and superiors will become far longer and harder.
My thesis is finally turned in, and the end is at last in sight. Senior Gift Marshals will soon begin their polite and persistent requests for donations to the Senior Class Gift, our extracurriculars will collect our post-Harvard contact info, and we will become part of the Harvard alum network on what is hopefully a sunny afternoon in May. Before and after we vacate our dorms, we will be constantly petitioned for financial support for Harvard and our assorted extracurriculars and teams.
In the 1971 film adaptation of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” a young Russian revolutionary named Perchik clumsily proposes marriage to the bright, witty Hodel by asking her “a political question…the question of marriage!” When Hodel inquires whether marriage is really a political question, Perchik responds pithily, “Everything’s political!”