Autumn Signals Change
There’s no denying it: Fall is here. Shorts and tank tops are being replaced by jeans and sweatshirts. Cool winds are blowing across campus and I already have a craving for apple cider. Today on my way to class I noticed the maintenance workers digging up the summer annuals and replacing them with white and burgundy mums (at least I think they are mums…don’t quote me on that). The air was ripe with the smell of flowers, both old and new.
At first, the sight of dead flowers piled in a heap on the ground made me sad. I did not want to admit that summer is over, and winter is on its way. Saying goodbye to another summer reminds me how little control I have over the passage of time, and how I wish I could stay young forever. It reminds me of how I am no longer approaching what parents ominously refer to as “the adult world;” I am in the adult world. Things get difficult and stressful when you grow up. There are choices to make, money to earn, classes to pass and jobs to find. Sometimes I wish Peter Pan would fly in my window and sprinkle me with fairy dust.
At the same time, growing up is exciting and fulfilling and delightful. With everything you have to let go of there is something even better that takes its place. With each new job you have you get to experience something new. With each new semester there are new people to meet and friendships to build. With each new class you get to learn exciting things.
Yes, college is difficult and stressful and often frustrating but it is so much more than that. It makes you feel accomplished and successful and alive. It helps you reach your full potential (or “self-actualization” for all the Psychology majors out there). At the end of a long week of projects, exams, and piles of notes and flashcards you can be proud of what you accomplished. Your dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon or a lawyer or an actor are that much closer to becoming a reality.
If you are a high school student searching for the perfect college or a senior embarking on the sixth week (hard to believe, I know) of classes, I hope you find the same fulfillment as I do here at Dominican. I hope you find yourself in a college where you don’t slog through the 15-week semester waiting for winter break, but you take advantage of each day and find fulfillment and purpose.
For me college is by far the biggest challenge of my young life but it is also the best thing I have ever experienced. I hope that, like me, you can look at the relentless passage of time and feel joy rather than sadness. I hope you can hold on to the memories of summer, not with regrets of time gone by but rather with hope and excitement as you look forward to a bright future.