Personal stories of growth at Eckerd College

"What's the most interesting Thing that's happened to you Today?"
by Darcy McCullom Scarborough, Class of 1994

"What's the most interesting thing that's happened to you today?" Tom Oberhofer would ask me every morning at approximately 8:04 a.m.

It was my freshman year and Tom was the professor of my first class at Eckerd and my mentor for the next four years. Having rolled out of bed at 7:45 a.m. and just barely made my way across campus to class, nothing interesting had happened to me, or to anyone else for that matter. But just like clockwork, Tom would gaze around our class every morning at 8:00 a.m. and pose this very same question. By the time he got around the table to me it would be around 8:04 a.m., and still in those four minutes nothing interesting had happened.

As the weeks went on I learned to expect this question, just like everyone else in the class. I'd hope I was called on last so I could buy some time to think. Not to think of what happened to me yet that may be of interest, but to just plain think of something I could say. I actually once said, ìI saw a squirrel.î Surely there are hundreds of squirrels on Eckerd's campus and none are truly interesting, but that was the only thing I could think of to say. So I learned to look for interesting experiences. We all did. It was a class full of people who had interesting experiences in the twenty waking minutes between our dorm rooms and Tom's class.

Tom had a purpose. He wanted to both spark discussion and provide a forum to get to know our classmates. He wanted us to be observant and reflective. He wanted us to be reverent of the world around us and learn from it, even at 8:00 a.m. This is the Eckerd experience.

It's been thirteen years since I graduated from Eckerd. A lot has happened in my life. And I have interesting experiences every day. But I have to look for them. Because the fact is, at 8:04 a.m. if you haven't had anything interesting happen to you yet, you're not paying attention.