Julian (Jewlz) Humphrey-Davis (C’16) is the student body president.
By Jewlz Humphrey-Davis
My favorite study spot on campus is All Saints’ Chapel. There’s something about how during the day the sunlight crashes through the stained glass windows and floods the space with technicolor brilliance. There’s something about how the organ’s singing inspires the walls to reverberate its praises. There’s something about how at night this place has so many times opened its arms up to those who are desperately crying out for One greater than they. You see, this place, a place in which a symphony of stillness is conducted daily, holds enough kinetic energy to change lives. It is the site of intersection of Sewanee’s past, Sewanee’s present, and Sewanee’s future.
I think that within the senior class this intersection can also be seen. During this year we have, like All Saints Chapel, lived in all three of these time periods simultaneously. As we traverse the campus, we replay the times in which we were there before: the first time we came on campus, the first time in this classroom, on this field, in this house, in these people’s company. Along with this, whether the thought has been at the forefront of our minds or we have skillfully been able to tuck it back into the farthest nook of our consciousness, the unceasing realization that this is the last (fill in the blank) has followed us like a shadow at each turn. The thoughts about the first time we stepped into a place compete with the voice whispering that soon this will be the last day, the last test, the last game, the last function, the last event, the last day. The last day. The last day.
Oh but don’t get too comfortable and forget about your future. Not that you’ve been able to with everyone’s favorite question to ask you being “So, what are you doing after this?” There is a pressure to automatically be successful right out of school. Ya know, “Wow” everybody and confirm for them that the half a trillion dollars you’ve spent coming to this incredible place is actually worth it. Living in three different time periods seems like a tall order, doesn’t it?
So in pondering how I would do it, I turn my querying gaze back to All Saints Chapel. I remember one night during the first semester of last year, I unassumingly walked into the chapel. What I saw upon entering was my friend, Tasha Sanders, arms outstretched, speaking from the lectern with captivating vivacity. Seeing me, she slowly descended the stairs, looked me in the eyes and said “Jewlz, I’ve been thinking about one thing: If you had 30 seconds to give a message to the entire world, what would you say?” In truth, it’s been over a year since I’ve been asked that question, and regrettably I don’t have a definitive answer. Yet, I can say that I know what I would want to say to my fellow sentimental second semester seniors: I’m so freaking proud of you guys. I think the greatest compliment that anyone at Sewanee could give is to say that someone is their Sewanee Angel. I’m blessed to say that I have more Sewanee Angels than characters available for me to type. I’ve seen you all work so hard in school, in social life, in your sports and organizations and in life outside of Sewanee. I’ve seen you all fail, get back up, and refuse to let that failure define who you are. I’ve seen you laugh and cry and be there for each other through both experiences. I’ve seen us grow in our scope of understanding and push to know ourselves and each other better. I’ve seen your hearts and I’ve been inspired.
No, I don’t know what I would tell the world if I had a captive audience for 30 seconds. But if I could have 30 seconds to tell my friends, THE class of 2016, anything in the world, I would most assuredly say thank you. Thank you guys for letting me do this journey with you. By being able to see you in the best of times and the worst of times get up in the morning, throw on that class dress, march your way through the day, and somehow be able to smile through it all has been astounding. There’s no place quite like Sewanee because there’s no place quite like the people who populate this place.
Finally, guys, it’s going to work out. You’ll get a job, you’ll move to the place you’re supposed to be in, you’ll make the world your own. You are ready to take the next step. Sewanee has instilled within you the desire to learn and grow and develop no matter where you go or what you are doing. Take that with you! You are invaluable because of it. We’re going to do some incredible things ladies and gents!