The beginning of the school year is ever-so-slowly approaching, but this time, it’s so different. This is the last time (except for grad school, but that is nothing like undergrad I’m told) I will be returning to a college campus to start the year with all of my fellow undergrads. I would say it’s bittersweet but it’s really not. I’m glad that I’m almost done, and I’m just overwhelmingly excited and ambitious about all the options I will have after I’m released from my four-year sentence of studying and forced socialization.
Now, don’t take that the wrong way. I have made many awesome friends and I have enjoyed almost all of my classes, but at this point I’m ready to move on. Along that same vein, I’m overly ready to get this year going for many reasons.
- I want to catch up with friends, see my boyfriend, and continue to build new relationships that have just started to blossom.
- I need to see if I’ve signed myself up for too many extracurriculars and packed my schedule a tad too tightly, so I can gracefully step down if need be. And if I’m not busy enough, maybe be a little more involved with campus life.
- I love my family to pieces, but at times I’m simply frustrated with having to submit to the family schedule and not do my own thing all the time. Living on a college campus and in an apartment in Italy has given me skills that I feel like I should be using (cooking for myself, cleaning the house/apartment, doing laundry, etc.) that have gotten a bit rusty when my parents are there to take care of things.
- I’m ready to hit the ground running and do my best with classes, although I may have been a bit too eager with signing up to take classes “for fun.” That intro journalism class may end up just becoming me attempting to read five extra books more than anything else.
With my roommate about to move into our new apartment, freshman arriving next week, and the GRE swiftly approaching, there’s a lot going on to get excited about. This time of year is also weird for me however, because I can remember myself in a freshman’s shoes and how nervous and anxious I was about how college would go. Looking back, I think my fears were pretty valid. But through the unsatisfactory circumstances I had worried about, with figuring out relationships and trying to find my place, I grew so much as a person. It’s almost hard to believe that I’m still the me that hesitatingly tiptoed onto campus three years ago.
One of the biggest, most in-my-face lessons I’ve learned in college is that people can and do change. Especially during the four short years of college. Granted, I think everyone has a concrete, “deep-down” identity that is who they were created to be and it is unique to them, but many people cover it up with insecurities or pride or anger or something of that sort. But so many factors of a person (their beliefs, their perspectives, and their interests) can change or shift based on their circumstances and hardships they’ve overcome and experiences they’ve had.
Personally, after going through the various hardships that go along with surviving college, living in another country, and re-evaluating my beliefs, my faith in God has been strengthened, my perspectives have broadened, my interests have become more solid, and my self-confidence has improved dramatically. I wouldn’t say I’m a complete optimist, because I do understand the way life sometimes is and I understand that it is often so hard that you don’t think that anyone could possibly relate to what you’re going through. But I also know a God who is more powerful than anything you could dream up and anything you are going through. I know that He loves you with the passion of a thousand burning suns and chases swiftly after you. It is because of Him that I am changed.
Until now, I didn’t realize that my seemingly independent journey through college was a journey with God. He was there through every lonely moment and every happy one, even when I felt He wasn’t. I learned more about myself and my faith than I ever could have if I had stayed in my comfort zone where things were familiar and normal. For this coming year, I have a ridiculous amount of hope and energy. In the past week, I’ve had very fulfilling heart-to-hearts with three of my dearest friends, so now I’m super pumped to talk to my friends at school about faith and our dreams and real things that go beneath the surface level.
I’ve heard countless times that hating small talk is an introvert quality. I am technically an introvert, but I think this annoyance with shallow conversation goes past that. Everyone has deep thoughts that may arise, some people seriously dwell on them, others skip over them because it’s just too hard to think about and those topics just aren’t relevant to the right now. I’m one of those people that catches a glimpse of an existential thought (about humanity’s purpose, about God, about Truth with a capital T) and has to keep thinking about it until it starts to scare me. I saw the movie Lucy earlier this summer and… man was that my kind of movie. The main character (my girl Scarlett Johansson), through a series of complications, acquires the ability to steadily gain access to the farthest reaches of her brain until at the end she reaches 100% of her brain capacity and “disappears” because she is actually everywhere (I tried to describe it but it just doesn’t make much sense). It really astounded me and made me wonder about it. Movies (and books) that really challenge you to think are the best kind.
ANYWAY after that really long tangent, I’m impressed if any of you even kept up with me. I sat down to write a nice, simple post about the end of summer and starting the school year, and then it turned all philosophical real fast. Sorry about that, but it’s just one of those rainy, contemplative days when I have to sit here at work but my mind is everywhere else.