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Freshmen find Common Ground

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 01:10

Common Ground Lecture

Julie Blanco

Freshmen liberal arts majors gathered to hear author Adam Shepard share his experiences and advice so that they could relate to one another as they begin their college careers.

The 2012-2013 Common Ground Lecture for the College of Liberal Arts — where Shepard spoke — was held Monday evening at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.

The Common Ground Lecture is an annual series for freshmen liberal arts students. This is the seventh year the event has been held.

The goal of the lecture series is to provide the liberal arts community with a bond through reading and to provide students with a cocurricular experience, said the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts José Luis Bermúdez.

The College of Liberal Arts is the heart of Texas A&M and graduates more students each year than any other college, said Bermúdez.

Books that are selected for incoming liberal arts students to read are ones that not everyone agrees with or likes. They are meant to be of debatable topics.

The chosen book for this year’s lecture was “Scratch Beginnings” written by Shepard.

During the lecture Shepard shared with students the events of his life that led him to writing the novel.

As a college graduate with two degrees and a broken dream of becoming a professional basketball player in Europe, Shepard said he set out to make his own American dream become a reality.

“My life had just been a succession of failures up to this point,” Shepard said. “I had come home from Germany as a failure.”

He soon decided to move away from his home of Raleigh, North Carolina and into a homeless shelter in Charleston, South Carolina and began a new life from scratch.

“The experience is the most fantastic moment of my life,” Shepard said.

Throughout the lecture, Shepard offered the freshmen class advice on creating a life where they are continually doing something new.

“Think of something you can do that’s outside the box,” Shepard said. “There are things you just can’t learn from a book.”

He also reassured the audience that regardless of the outcome of their endeavors, he said they should keep working towards their dreams.

“You’re going to fail,” Shepard said. “That’s a guarantee. But you’ve got to keep going.”

During his struggle to find an agent and have his book gain popularity, Shepard called nearly all of the top 100 newspapers in the nation and finally found interest from The New York Post.

“If you’re passionate and believe in what you’re doing you’ve got to keep pushing,” Shepard said.

Students who attended the lecture said they felt that reading the book was beneficial as they began their college careers and created a bond among them.

“Since we all read it at the same time it’s not just a personal journey,” said freshman telecommunications major Macy Moore. “We did it together.”

Students also said the book had common themes with what they are experiencing now. Shepard said he embarked on a new journey like incoming college students do.

“I think it’s relatable to my life,” said freshman communications major Corrin Presnall. “We’re all starting out with something new.”

The lecture series allows the students to find common ground among each other and share their point of view on the book.

“We all take it in differently,” Presnall said. “And we get in situations when we feel lost. This was cool because it gives you inspiration.”

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