Hi, it's me, the Rock. My real name is "Spirit Rock," but everyone just calls me "The Rock." You might have seen me as you make your way around campus or even on social media. I don't have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or a Yik Yak, but news on the street is that I've been trending lately.
I arrived at Hanover College in 2014. I was nervous at first because I thought the people here would think I was a random eyesore or a waste of money. I mean, why would you pay to put a huge a boulder in the middle of a beautifully landscaped campus? However, the people who introduced me to my new home explained to me that I was more than just a rock. They called me "Spirit Rock," and told me I would serve as a way for students to show their school pride and promote their organization's events. They even listed me under the "Tradition," section of the Hanover website even though I just got here.
My first few months here were quite the adjustment. My whole life, I have been grey and all the other rocks I grew up with were grey, brown or black. So when the first group of students came towards me with bottles of spray paint; I was startled, to say the least. After the students were done painting me, they took a bunch of pictures with me then left. Despite my initial discomfort, I got used to my new look and I actually kind of liked it. Moreover, I enjoyed hearing the students talk excitedly about their upcoming events or Hanover pride while they splashed all sorts of colors and designs on me.
I got used to being the campus billboard and my increasing popularity. I realized that there is a high level of involvement and variety of interests on this campus for a rather small student body. When I reflect the student's positive energy and messages people view me with respect and their body language sends good vibes my way. However, I am beginning to wonder if my new-found fame is starting to wreck my reputation.
This semester, people have started coming to decorate me during the night. At first, I didn't understand why they were doing this. Wouldn't be easier to paint in light of day? When the sun came up I realized why. The students had illustrated something different on me. Instead of school spirit or a student organization, I had a social issue coated all over me. I thought it must have taken a lot of passion and courage to paint a public landmark with a message that is highly debated and political. Yet, if they were passionate enough to paint me why did they do it in the middle of the night when no one could see them? If seems as if people wanted the campus to hear their opinion but did not have the nerve to take ownership of the message they were writing on me. Maybe if they were afraid of the potential backlash of their message they shouldn't have written it in the first place.
As the semester went on, I was layered with more political and social issues. I could tell who approved and differed just by watching people’s faces. I have the highest reverence for the people who disagreed with the message but remained poised, kept treating people with respect and went on with their day. On the other hand, some people felt outcasted, condemned or isolated due to my appearance. It hurt me to see the anger within them reflecting on their face. Out of frustration, they vented their feelings to their friends and the world on social media. They shamed whoever wrote the message and even Hanover as an institution. If I could speak I would have told them to remember weak people seek revenge, the toughest people forgive and the most intelligent people know how to dismiss nonsense.
I am a rock. I don’t have legs to walk away from anyone who tries to paint me. I don’t have arms to wash any unwanted illustration off me. I don’t have a phone to contact the people who post about how much they dislike me at times. I don’t have a mouth to voice my own opinions. My status fully relies on you. So, please keep using your voice and freedom so that I can speak and communicate with the people on campus. However, choose your words wisely and if you disagree with something, don’t raise a moral havoc that condemns people who choose to stand their ground. Lastly, if you are going to paint me, do a good job. Unlike you, I don’t get to dress myself.