In a quest to familiarize our readership with the editorial staff, each editor reflected on their individual experience at the University of Redlands and how it has defined them.
Whenever someone asks me what made want to go to Redlands, my answer always involves something about trees. When I first came to visit the campus after being accepted, one of the first things I noticed was the giant Canyon Live Oak on the quad, directly across from the chapel. As much as I expected big, grand buildings and wide courtyards, I wasn’t ready for how inviting a tree could be. Redlands is the first new city I’ve lived in since I moved to Murrieta, California at three years-old, and of all the things to make me feel at home–the friends I made during orientation week and the live mascot that reminded me of my own pets–I never expected a tree to feel so instantly like home. It stuck with me until I started my freshman year and I began to build memories with it. I did homework with friends underneath it, I laid under it and called my mom the day I declared myself an English major, and it was the last thing I said goodbye to when I was all packed up and ready to go home for the summer.
My sophomore year, my roommate and I would always pass by the Lemon-scented Gum tree next to Cortner Hall on the way to breakfast. One day we saw a raccoon climbing up it, and he pointed and said he could probably do the same if his legs were as strong as they were during high school marching band. Later he tried anyway, but the attempt didn’t last long. Now it’s long, meandering trunk makes me imagine what it must be like to climb to the top and look out over the quad.
Behind the Fine Arts building there is an orange tree we picked from every once in a while. Sometimes it broke up the monotony of having a buttered bagel every morning (which admittedly is my fault for never changing my eating habits). Too many of the people of Redlands, our oranges are our most popular export, symbols marking each street sign and snacks in the fridge. To me, they remind me of fresh mornings; new starts.
This time around, I think the palm trees will be the postcard in my mind when I think of junior year. The ones behind the chapel that bend impossibly far down when it gets windy. The ones lining Colton Avenue that I run by in the morning. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be at the top of one. Only a good idea in theory, though.
I guess what I mean to say is that the U of R has taught me to slow down and take in the fresh air in the cheesiest, tree-hugger-iest way. Walking to class every day, no matter how stressed I am about whatever test I have to take this day or essay due that week, there’s always a tree that pulls me out of my thoughts, makes me follow it’s trunk to the very top and smile at how damn blue the sky is (usually). We are a part of the Tree Campus USA program, after all. So find your tree, guys. Go sit under it, and take a few minutes to yourself. I think we all need it sometimes.
Photo contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Kevin Reyes