No, I didn’t just watch the Michael Jackson “This Is It” and am now writing a review. This is merely how I feel right now. Four years ago, I was caught in the middle of the move-in day chaos, an experience I will never have or be able to relive again. The excitement of my first year of college is an unparalleled feeling; being out on my own for the first time ever, meeting a bunch of new people, and being enrolled at the school I had cheered for since the 4th or 5th grade all just came to fruition in that first year. But what I didn’t really dwell on was how that first year was a mere stepping stone in preparation for today. Like Vitamin C sings in her song “Graduation,” when I leave this year, I won’t be coming back.
Dough Co., Oatmeal Crème Pies, Griffin House’s “Upland,” online poker, and my best friend, Tyler Popham were the more prominent trademarks of freshman year. There were others, like how we lost one of Tyler’s Game Cube controllers simply because they were stored on my mini-fridge just above the trash can and it merely fell in, but in the years to follow after leaving the dorms, I would come to remember those five things the most. And honestly, I miss them.
There’s something about the beginning of something new that enlivens the soul. There’s something that just makes the heart beat. It might be fear, it might be mere excitement, but it’s probably something of both. Whatever it is, the first few days living in the dorms were the most exciting. I had met more people than I could remember, experienced a totally different part of the world than what I was used to, and instantly fell in love with U of O’s campus. From that weekend on, I’d spent a lot of my alone time wondering where I’d be in four years and what kind of person I’d be like. Now that those four years are up, I’d have to say that I’m a little fearful.
I know it’s a common thing amongst college students to kind of panic a little bit when graduation is right around the corner, but I think it’s still worth acknowledging right now. I became an English major shortly after discovering how much I love to read and write. And as my hair stylist told me yesterday, your degree should reveal something about what you want to do in life. But as it is, I’ve got a job at a pizza place. And while it pays for the groceries, it’s not exactly why I came to college. It’s not exactly why I spent hours upon hours reading books and writing papers. I did all that because I want to have a career that revolves around the written word, whether I’m writing it or reading it.
Where the fear comes into play is when I realize that I don’t have much time left to figure out where I want to go. If I graduate after this winter or after this spring, I really don’t have much time to decide on a specific direction and just go for it. And even if I did, I don’t really know where to begin. I blog a lot, as one might guess with the 77 other posts, and I know blogging is pretty important in the public relations world. But who do I contact? How do I get an interview? And is it something I really want to do?
Above everything else, I know the worst thing to do is panic, especially now. As I just told my mom, Jesus tells us that not a single bird falls to the ground without God knowing about it and we are more valuable than birds (Matthew 10:29). I’ll have a job that not only sustains me financially but also is one that I love, one that I won’t mind going to five or six days of the week. The process to get there is still a little foggy and unclear to me, but I think clarity will come as long as I trust and pursue God.
I think I can take a lesson from the freshmen moving into Eugene and beginning a new chapter of their lives. Just as I was for my freshman year, they seem to be pretty excited about the new experience. I’ve been approaching my final college days with fear and timidity and doubt, but during my freshman year I didn’t care that I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I was too busy enjoying the experience of figuring it out. And just because time may be running out on the college-ticker it doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to enjoy that process – that process that has taken four years, hundreds of $5 pizzas, thousands of Oatmeal Crème Pies, and thousands of dollars worth of books.
This is it. These final three terms will refine my priorities and my passions and throw me back out into the world to do something with them. Whatever failures or successes I may have had in the previous four years are only relevant insofar as to what they taught me, not how they defined me. What matters this year is what I do with that knowledge and how I put it to work to make something out of these college days.
What matters is whether or not I live the life of faith.