Column: Be the ‘more loving one’

Abigail Carlin, Copy Editor

On the last day of my junior year of high school, I was presented with the “More Loving One” award. My English teacher, Mr. R, created this award for me because I reminded him of the last two lines of the second stanza in W.H. Auden’s poem, “The More Loving One.” The lines that were printed below my name were, “if equal affection cannot be/let the more loving one be me.” This award was given to me because, though I had a B in his class, he admired how hard I worked for my grade.

Like most people, I struggled during my junior year of high school. With AP tests, the ACT and college on the horizon, I felt as if I had a giant existential crisis cloud hanging over my head all the time. I spent my time doing all the things I could just to all lines to my resume. I felt no connection to anything or anyone and I was just keeping my head above the water.

Throughout all of these trials and tribulations, my greatest challenge was trying to keep up in my AP Literature and Language course. That particular teacher, Mr. R, was infamous for being the most brilliant and intimidating teacher in the entire school. I spent, on average, two to three hours doing his assigned homework, rewriting essays (even though it was not required) and trying to get a head start on the next day’s lecture. I was struggling to say the least.

Then, after all of the blood, sweat and tears, all I received was the glorified “best effort award.”

Slightly insulted and embarrassed, I accepted the award and thought nothing of it. However, now that I am in college I have been thinking a lot about what Mr. R was thinking when he gave me that award.

This was not about singling me out for having to work harder for anyone else for the same grade but about celebrating the journey that I went on to achieve it. Being the “more loving one” is not about being the most successful or even achieving the ideal end result. It is about being the person who is willing to go out and do whatever they can to achieve their goals, no matter how daunting the task may be.

This does not just apply to academics but to life, as well. Being the “more loving one” is scary. It requires the individual to risk their pride and to put their heart and their dignity on the line.

It has also served as a “check” of sorts in order to figure out one’s priorities.

Maybe it is a relationship, a class, friendship or extracurricular activity. When reflecting upon any of these things, I want to be able to sit down and be able to ask myself, “Does this allow me to be the ‘more loving one?’” If I am not willing to put my whole heart into that thing or that person, why am I wasting my time?

In high school, I wasted so much time and effort trying to squeeze in as many “things” in my life as possible, but it all meant nothing to me. However, none of it was like Mr. R’s class. The work I did, the study of rhetoric, of literature and of learning how to roast someone in an essay meant more to me than I could say, and I just did not understand it at that moment. I do now, and I now realize what Mr. R meant when he called me the “more loving one.”

It was about rewarding me for investing my time in something that was important and meaningful, and thanks to him, that is how I intend on spending the rest of my time here at Eastern and the life that follows.

So I extend this invitation to you, reader. Look at your life. Are the people in your life worth your time, your strife? Think about your major—do not think about the money you could make in ten years, but what the material means to you personally. Life is short, and no matter how clichéd the phrase is, it does not mean its any less true. So why not spend it doing something that you love, being the person willing to love the things in your life the most?

Abigail Carlin is a sophomore English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].