Ice Breaker By: Luke Cummings

We have all been in that seat in that classroom at the start of the semester. We’ve all heard the professor announce that they want us to “go around the room and share a few things about ourselves.”

And of course, we are all so eager to charge through this social gauntlet. Especially the introverts.

I can never think of anything to say, other than my major and where I’m from. One time, in a calculus course, we were asked to give one interesting fact about ourselves, and I said that I hated math. That’s important to know, right? If not for anything but to realize that I’m not as malicious as I look while I’m sitting in math class.

Chances are, by the end of the first week, you forget all but one or two of your classmates’ short bios, and surely by the end of the semester you have forgotten them all, unless you have formed real friendships.

It is safe to say that most people don’t like initial introductions, or “breaking the ice” as the age-old phrase goes. In fact, I’ll venture as far to say that many people are content to remain in the same relationships that they’ve had forever; sitting back, lounging in their comfort zones. I’m guilty of it, for sure.

Deep down though, we all know that relationships are important. We all know that networking is one of the most vital building blocks of not only a successful career, but of a happy life. Introductions are the pen that connect the dots in those networks.

So now I’m going to introduce myself to you (which is massively less daunting when done on paper). My name is Luke, and I was born and raised in Moline. I’m a student here at WIU-QC, where I recently changed my major from Information Systems to English (bizarre, I know) because my passion is writing. I’m a husband and a father of two. I served four years in the Marine Corps as an infantryman and twice deployed to Iraq. I love to cook, drink craft beer, grind out my golf game, and watch Chicago Bears football. I also love to write, and can be quite long winded when I do, if you haven’t noticed by now.

I am finally getting to the part where I discuss the purpose of this column, which is what I really want to introduce to you. I am naming this column “The CivDiv Scoop.” The term “CivDiv” is short for “1st Civilian Division,” military jargon that refers to the regular world that one joins when they get out of the military.

I want The Edge to have a corner dedicated to military veterans’ topics and issues, and this is why I write this column. I want veterans to have a column to read that will give them a touch of nostalgia, and perhaps a sense of that camaraderie that we no longer experience. I also want to give everyone else an idea of what veterans are really like from the perspective of one of those veterans, though in no way do I speak for every veteran.

We all know that millions of veterans struggle from PTSD and depression, among other things. But so do millions of other people. We can find common ground when we realize that veterans are not so different from everyone else. And just like for everyone else, relationships are the most effective treatment for all of life’s struggles.

Relationships are the fabric of humanity. Words are the thread, and we are the needle. It doesn’t matter your background, or your present situation, be it good or bad. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, what you have accomplished or what you haven’t, if you’re a veteran or not. All that matters is where you’re going and with whom you decide to go there; whom you decide to have around you will largely dictate if you make it to wherever you’re going, and if you truly enjoy the journey.

So let’s get talking. Let’s make new and better relationships. And let’s enjoy the journey.

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