What the X-Ring symbolizes to my immediate and Xaverian families
We are not the first, or even the only university to boast an institution’s crest on a ring. But we do seem to be the only one with an entire day of celebration surrounding it. And while the shiny new ring is undoubtedly beautiful, the hype surrounding our favourite icon always seems to be about more than just jewelry; it’s got to be more than just a visual reminder of these soon to be “good old days.” Because, as much as we brag that our experiences here are different from others (and maybe they are), the routine of it is generally very similar. Stress over our classes and not so distant futures and then we reduce that stress with friends, beer and pizza. But then again, our experience here is distinct. It’s not like other places and I don’t believe that it’s just because of how seriously we take our frosh res, or where we like our pizza, I think it’s because of something more timeless than that.
To wear such a visible reminder on our fingers symbolizes something more. Maybe I’m biased; and maybe I’m a little romantic and idealistic. I come from an X family after all. Like many of us, I’ve always been able to count X-Rings at the dinner table. From both sides of my immediate family I can count eight rings across three generations and on this December 3 I will be adding a ninth. The wearers, I’ve noticed, within my family especially, but also outside it, have always seemed to have an affinity for community work. They’re leaders. They’ve led charities, sports associations and sat on community boards. But more than that they’ve led in the simplest of actions of holding a door for someone, or being the first to offer help. There was an obvious connection between X-ring recipients and an active compassion for others. It’s this seemingly natural awareness for the needs of other that drives their choices and it’s an idea that I recognized and felt strongly enough to inscribe on the back of my ring, “If not me, who?” What became clear to me as I grew older is that this characteristic wasn’t unique to the members of my family who were X grads, but X grads in general. I thank my family for showing me this from a young age but I have to thank my school for showing me that it goes so far beyond them. It has been exciting to learn that it is not only my family that has this idea about X, but that it is shared, celebrated and passed down; a Xaverian family legacy rather than just an immediate family one.
To me, the X-Ring legacy is the belief that after we’ve spent time at StFX, we not only have the ability to change the world, but our rings remind us that it is our responsibility to do so. The size of that world could be global, but it could just as easily mean a single person’s world. But no matter the scale, the responsibility is the same. And maybe the word responsibility is the wrong one, it puts a heavy sort of weight to what is a celebration; a milestone of our experience. But I think what is incredible is the idea that we so eagerly celebrate this responsibility and take great pride in being entrusted with that kind of power. If anything, the X-Ring legacy is a reminder of personal purpose and I think purpose is something that students come looking for at university, not only in their academics, but in their personal lives too. We want something to care about. The incredible thing is not that we care for this iconic piece of gold (or silver) on our hand, but the promise we make as a result of wearing it; that at any point in our life, we can look down and be reminded of our purpose: to make the world a better place.
The X-Ring is a reward that comes with a responsibility - to wear it well. To wear it well, I believe that purpose is to look out for the wellbeing of others. Aren’t we lucky to belong to a place surrounded a group of people who have that mentality? That, for all its charms, quirks and its flaws, this institution is still genuinely trying to engage with the idea of making the world a better place. Maybe that’s a little naïve or idealistic but I plan to try and uphold it, because “If not me, who?”