When you enter into college, you become part of a different world. Nothing you experience during this time is like anything you have experienced before or will again. The end of our senior year in high school, all we could imagine are new friends, interesting classes, and our dorms or apartments. We planned out the different clubs we were going to join and went shopping to decorate for our apartment. We visited the local coffee shops, churches, and parks, just to get a taste of the new community. We planned, planned, planned.
But you can’t plan everything, and not one thing is set in stone-not even yourself. You are going to change and life is going to change.
You can’t plan that out in your notebook or on your calendar. There’s not a day where you can mark and say “Oh, on this day I’m really going to screw up”, or “This day I will meet 7 new friends who will reshape my life”. Life rarely asks for your permission to change.
It doesn’t happen scheduled and orderly, but it does happen. Somewhere in between running late for your 8 am math class, getting a new job, or sledding down a big hill on a snowy day, somewhere, you change. You’re sitting in class and you don’t recognize your own thoughts, or you look in the mirror and realize you’re wearing pink. You hate pink.
It’s a bitter-sweet moment. You’re in this transition and transitions can be really beautiful, but sometimes they hurt and they’re uncomfortable. Sometimes, you just want to crawl back into bed, watch cartoons, and call it quits, but sometimes you decide who you are is okay and you really like the person you are becoming.
Or you do not.
It’s like you randomly choose this unnecessary sociology course and now you’re changing your major. It’s the moments in class when the professor influences your mind and your heart. The moment when you decide you want more and apply to graduate school. You didn’t see any of this coming, but it did and you feel it and here you are.
But it’s also those moments between class when you’re walking and you see people rallying for a good cause and you feel inclined to stop and now you’re their biggest fan. It’s in the library watching videos that seem to serve no purpose, but the moment is perfect. It’s staying up with your roommate until 4 am studying a class you hate, but need desperately. It’s skipping work and class and watching movies all day with your best friend because you just can’t handle another 12 hour day.
Or when your friend calls you up for coffee, but it turns into breakfast, lunch, and maybe even dinner.
Or when someone you barely even know (or trust) becomes the one you share your deepest secrets with.
It’s when you fall in love on the car ride home.
Or out of love on the walk to the bus.
The education, the major, the degree; these are the talking points for college, but it’s not all that is happening. It’s not just another class, it’s your life and it’s happening.
And on the surface, when our parents call and ask how everything is, we give them a shallow and unjustly answer for what is actually going on.
“It’s fine. Classes are good.”
“I may have to retake a class”
“I went out to eat the other day”
But we know in our hearts there’s more.
“I went to class and my professor presented an entirely different idea and now I am wondering about all of this.”
“Hey, actually I made a really big mistake. I don’t know how to do this and I’m really scared.”
“My heart was pounding suddenly and I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this. What if he is the one?”
There’s always more. There’s always something reshaping us and sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle, we don’t realize we aren’t who we were or we are in a state of changing, or becoming. My realization in this constant-state changing is this, it is almost always the quieter moments that set the transformation into motion. The ones where you didn’t really say or do anything, but it happened, and you knew that something was going on, but you just couldn’t find the words. Like a friend who knows your secret, but doesn’t cause a scene. They just give you a hug because words aren’t needed to explain. It’s gentle, but profound and only you two know.
The change, the transition, the transformation, usually isn’t loud. It isn’t a striking moment that stands up and makes its presence known. It happens, softly- between classes.