Reflection by Dustin Lyles (’14)
Dustin Lyles graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, minoring in Political Science (Pre-Law). During his time at Baylor, Dustin served four years on the BIC Leadership Council, and was president his senior year. After interning for the BIC this summer, he will travel in September to the small town of Guardo, Spain where he will teach English for a year at an elementary school. After Spain, he plans to attend law school and eventually hopes to practice immigration law.
One of the most challenging realizations I came to in my time as an undergraduate is that change is constant; we are never again where we once were. After just four short years at Baylor, the perpetual pattern of change continued when I graduated in May, once again when I began interning for the BIC in June, and will strike again when I travel to Spain in September to teach English until the end of May 2015. Upon beginning college, I often thought that my experience would allow me to transform the uncertainty in life with knowledge and answers about the future through education. However, upon completion of my undergraduate experience, I find that I remain just as unclear about the future as when I began my educational journey. The recent sense of uncertainty that accompanied graduation is much different in nature, as the BIC experience enlightened me to think in an extraordinary way about the world around me and my place within it. The difference between the indecision I felt as a freshman and the uncertainty I now experience as a recent graduate can be defined by one important quality: purpose. A foreign concept as a first year college student, the sense of purpose I developed throughout my four years at Baylor now puts me at ease with regard to the future. While the many details of my prospective career and educational goals remain unknown, I am calm despite my inability to foresee the future because I believe there is a purpose for my life that is greater than myself. As a result of my BIC education, I am more comfortable with the notion of constant change, and I feel poised to tackle the mysterious unknown. The world feels smaller than ever before, teeming with exciting possibilities.
Throughout my time as an intern for BIC this summer, one of the most frequent questions asked by prospective freshman and their parents pertained to my overall BIC experience. The truth is I find that question quite difficult to answer, as I believe each student in the program has an entirely unique experience defined by discovering meaning in the curricula they value, establishing personal connections with faculty members, and being stimulated by readings, lectures and cultural field trips. To qualify my entire four year adventure into a few compact sentences initially presented a challenge because my distinctive experience was unique to me, as theirs would be too. I then realized that this quality is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the BIC program; its resiliency and flexibility allows students with varied interests to thrive in an environment that educates students about the surrounding world. My concept of the unknown transformed from fear and timidity into marvel and excitement, as I gradually realized that admitting to yourself how little you know liberates the mind and ignites a curiosity for discovery. With this in mind, the unknown becomes less daunting, instead posing a challenge to each of us to embark on a journey of self-discovery through exploring the unfamiliar. It is in this mindset that I finish my Baylor experience: eager excitement for whatever may come.