There are a few things I’ll miss about Fairfield when I graduate in just a handful of days. I’ll miss being within walking distance of my friends, the amazing professors and the wonderful classes. But, possibly surprising to most, there’s one thing that I’ll miss almost as much: The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts events.
I went to my first Quick Center Open Visions Lecture in October of 2018 to see author Micheal Lewis talk. Yes, that’s right, that Micheal Lewis. The Micheal Lewis that wrote “The Big Short”, “The Blind Side” and “Pep Boys.” He was always a hero of mine. The way he was able to tell a story so you as the reader could just slip right in. You were at the kitchen table with the characters, hearing their stories. I was unbelievably excited to hear him speak. I read his newest book, “The Fifth Risk” in just a few hours so I could ask a smart question and then my hands were shaking as I stood up and asked at the end of the lecture. It was spectacular.
As I was writing mostly reviews for The Mirror at the time, I’d attend many more Quick Center events in the 2018-2019 season. I attended Barry Barnes’ lecture on his book “Everything I Know About Business I Learned From the Grateful Dead.” I saw Khizr Khan, the father of the fallen soldier who made headlines in 2016 when he waved his pocket Constitution and told then Presidential candidate Donald Trump to read it. I attended one of the most life-changing performances with just a small group of other guests, “Radicals in Miniature” on how AIDS impacted the lives of those living in NYC in the 1980s. Then I finished the year with the Russian National Ballet’s performance of “Swan Lake.” All of that just in one school year. Further, all of that for either completely free or just $5.
There’s something special about learning through experience. There are things these great thinkers and artists have said that have stuck with me more than anything I’ve heard in a classroom setting. Yet, it’s an experience that my fellow students just seem uninterested in taking advantage of. There have been many of these events where there are just seas of empty seats all around me. I’ll always remember, in that completely life-changing “Radicals in Miniature” performance, that the box office people had to sit in the audience just to look like they were more people than there actually were.
The thing is, I fully understand that we’re all busy. Up until this semester I didn’t even have time to sleep much less attend an over two hour long event. But… you make time sometimes. If I discovered I had a free Thursday evening one week, I’d look through the schedule and see if there’s anything popping out as particularly interesting. I’d drag my friends and roommates with me and though they’d begin the night with a lot of complaints, eventually there’d be more tickets bought and more plans for future events. If our Jesuit education is about the mission to learn in and out of the classroom, I can’t urge you enough that the Quick Center events are the best place to do this.