There are so many reasons I could list to you why I believe this, reasons like how we never see babies or old people and therefore get stuck in a summer camp mentality of entitlement, also called “the bubble;” dusty coffee shops become so elevated in our “studious” world that they are, indeed, glorified without reason and rarely utilized for studying, only socializing; oh, and Netflix. But these are not the main reasons I bring to you today. Today, I want to address transition and independence.
College is transitional. We are moving at a fast pace through drastically different “phases,” or semesters. As a freshman, I was a new kid and had just gotten my bearings in the spring when I jumped into sophomore year. Sophomore year, I was “it.”
I knew the school, knew the people, and my friends and I owned our table in the caf. I was somebody. Now I am a junior, and I just feel really awkward all the time. My 12-count friend group has fizzled, so sometimes I sit alone in the caf.
I walk to Cups for, of course, socializing, and do not recognize a single person. Walking to class, I furrow my eyebrows and feel somewhat homeless. Of course, I am being slightly dramatic; I have friends and a boyfriend and am involved in activities, but I want to communicate that there has been drastic change.
And it is not necessarily external change, like friend shifts, class workload, etc. I want you to understand the drastic internal changes of a college student. My perception of the world around me during my freshmen year was a grain of sand compared to the brick it is now.
Petty things held high value in my mind as I scurried eagerly, like the squirrels that dart across our paths every day. Sophomore year, I was prideful. Like the sewage cat that bravely emerges in broad daylight, I strutted around this campus and waved to everyone whose names I had heard of.
But then junior year hit me. Actually, remember the brick I mentioned earlier? I think that is what hit me. What I thought was real life was not real life anymore. What I had thought independence was (the ability to make my own decisions to like, go to Wafflehouse or not,) was not really independence.
And I was forced to look at the menacing reality that success in life is not easy and involves hard work. It is like a garden. Without kneeling on the ground and getting dirt in your nails, not much beauty is going to appear. (I tried to come up with a campus animal to use as an analogy but it is not happening.)
Our generation is being convinced that it is okay not to have things figured out, so that we are blindsided into a sandbox mentality that keeps us busy with fun things while the weeds of the real world are growing up around us. I advise you to use your short time here wisely. Have fun, but grow up and learn what real independence is. Get your hands dirty. Step out of the sandbox dream every once in a while and do some gardening.
- Bethani Thomas, Contributing Writer