College is an opportunity to embrace change
August 23, 2019
Twenty days before moving in freshman year, I had a meltdown. It was a proper meltdown that resulted in puffy eyes and a runny nose. (It was also coincidentally my dad’s birthday, and I sobbed writing him a sentimental note that now commemorates said meltdown with its smudged ink and dried tears.) It was like I had blinked and the summer had flown by — a blur of grad parties, impromptu hangouts and celebratory trips.
I have long had this dry-erase board calendar in my room. This calendar is beautiful — sexy even. I take great satisfaction in stepping back and looking at my color-coded, day-to-day schedule, basking in the rainbow of the planned events ahead.
But in early August, 20 days before move-in of my freshman year, I could not see the full month ahead. I was quite literally drawing a blank. Yeah, I had figured out my class schedule (mind you, I also had two early morning lectures and a Friday evening discussion that semester — perhaps the real genesis of the meltdown), but I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like on campus. What clubs would I join? Who would I be friends with? Where would I hang out?
Those first few weeks, I kept myself on a tight schedule because I found great comfort in clinging to something familiar. While I don’t necessarily regret how I handled all the change because we all have different coping mechanisms, I do think I missed out on experiences and opportunities because I said no when I wanted to say yes.
To be clear, these are not everyone’s feelings leading up to move-in — many students are excited to start this chapter of newfound independence and early adulthood, and I’d say most students are filled with both excitement and nerves.
Regardless, we all have to learn to adapt to the change. Maybe for some that means honing in on your executive functioning skills to better manage your time. Or maybe, if you’re like me, it’s learning to let go a little.
Ultimately, how we choose to approach change is a matter of perspective.Yes, there is dorm food to be eaten, but at least there are no dishes. Yes, there are three-hour labs, but there are also early afternoon naps (schedule-permitting, of course). Yes, there is a tiny dorm room to be shared with little to no privacy, but there are also late-night, heart-to-heart conversations with roommates and floormates.
Someone once said, “Change is the only constant in life.” How lucky we are to begin practicing the act of embracing change for the lifetime of change ahead.