Tomorrow, you guys will be starting school. Some of you are freshmen or sophomores and some of you are graduating seniors. The first couple weeks or so of school are always dope; the spot is packed, cypher vibes all around, and of course you’re reunited with the homies. But for the first time in years, I won’t have the privilege of breaking in between classes or grabbing a breakfast burrito with Wet Wormie. For the first time in years, I won’t be part of the KLR routine.
During my freshman year at SJSU, I remember passing by club day and seeing linoleum on the floor, bboys doing their thing. There was a homie by the name of Andrew Nguyen, president of the club at the time, who saw my curiosity and introduced himself, then to the other homies. From there the chemistry was instant and I found myself going to The Spot at least 2 to 3 times a week.
By the end of my freshman year the KLR homies became some of my closest friends. Andrew wanted to focus on school so he decided to step down from president and passed the torch to me. He saw the potential that I had and I made sure to embrace it.
During the summer before my sophomore year of college, all I could think about was KLR. I’d spent days thinking about what events to plan or how to make money for the club or what competitions to enter. Once school came around, I put on the grind hat and made moves. Club day during my first year as president was a success, and from there membership and friendship flourished.
During this time, I wanted to move out and live closer to school to get the “college experience” that my friends talked about, and I did. In fact, I lived in a house full of bboys. It sounded too good to be true – eat, sleep, school (once in a while), break, repeat. And for the most part, that was the routine. While there were rough patches, living on my own during college had to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My sophomore year was also the first year that KLR made its debut at School’s For Fools, an intercollegiate breaking competition. An event that I heard about through friends and social media, I knew that this was a competition KLR had to be in. Rallying up some of the finest breakers at SJSU, we made the trip happen, and through our passion, procrastination (lol), and hard work we made it to the semi-finals…in our first year.
By my junior year of college I committed to a second term as president, and with the same formula kept the KLR movement going. By this time, we’ve grown the club to a household name at SJSU. Other students and organizations knew who we were, we were featured on Humans of SJSU several times, and we were in the press at least once a semester. Membership was steady, with at least 5-10 breakers at the spot. The only difference was that I was living at home to save money for a study abroad trip.
What I didn’t realize was how difficult it was to manage a club with a commute, while working part time and studying. They say junior year may well be the hardest year of college, and I can attest to that; my grades were slipping, I was tired from commuting, and I was doing too many things at the same time. But my friends and passion for the club kept me going, and before I knew it it was our second year of school’s for fools. We landed in second place, and while we were disappointed, we knew that we were only climbing a ladder towards gold.
By my senior year I didn’t want to experience the overload I had my junior year, so I stepped down as president and Steven Tran stepped in. The club was a little slower, as many of us were graduating seniors, but we still kept the KLR movement going – people came to the spot, we had a couple outings, and we all still kicked it. Membership was consistent and a wave of new breakers came by the spot. By the Spring semester, Steven also wanted to finish school and decided to step down. At the time we did not have a candidate in mind, so I committed to one more semester. I knew that it would be stressful, finishing my last year of college and being the president of the club, but my gut told me I just had to do it.
Already familiar with the system, we decided to make the trip to School’s for Fools again. Everything felt good and I was ready to take the win, but I injured my knee before the competition even happened and it was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had. While I still had complete faith in the team, we came up short again. I wanted to win bad, it would’ve been a nice graduation gift. But just vibing with the homies was all I needed.
Now just graduated, it’s weird to say that I won’t be going to class tomorrow. Whenever anyone asks me how my college experience was, I tell them KLR was my college experience. They were my housemates, literally. I didn’t join a fraternity, KLR was my fraternity. KLR was, and still is, my crew.
As you continue your time at San Jose State, remember that The Spot will always be there when you need a study break. Make sure to have at least 2-3 people with portable speakers on them, sound is important. There will be a lot of newbies that want to break but are too shy. Embrace them and teach them. Don’t just dance together, get together. Study together. Party together. Look for more bgirls to join the club and when they do, bboys, try not to be thirsty. Unless you both are vibin, of course. Grab a bite at peanuts or grab some boba at Amor. To the school’s for fools team, let’s take the W. It’s our time.
Some of you guys will be busy, others will graduate and find full time time jobs, and a few of us will lose interest. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from KLR, it’s to appreciate the good times shared with the homies, on and off the floor. Because we are a small but crazy, usually lazy, and funny as hell group with a passion for dancing and friendship at San Jose State. We are the King Library Rockers.