You’ve seen and heard students get excited/anxious/nervous/irritable at the start of the school year.
“Oh my god, i’m so excited, i can’t wait to go back, i’ve been bored since July”;
“I can’t wait to party with my all friends!”;
“I’m not ready for summer to end”;
“I’m nervous for all these hard classes i signed up for”;
“I won’t procrastinate this year.” (Yeah, right.)
I know, it annoys me too. All that fuss over a new school year. But, it’s really not that simple. Septembers aren’t special just because they mark the beginning of a new school year. It’s not just a matter of getting books, supplies, and new clothes. It’s not just a matter of hoping to meet a cute guy or girl in recitation. It’s not just a matter of finding easy professors, fulfilling degree requirements, and getting good grades and internships to eventually get a good job and make good money. Those are the things that don’t matter. The things that do matter are the memories that resurface as you walk the familiar paths on campus and how you carry them with you, as part of you—a changed and changing you—into the new school year.
Not only does the start of a school year bring new things, but it also rides on the things that happened the preceding school year that you forgot about over the summer. You’d expect to start school with happy memories of summer vacation fresh in your mind, but in reality, once you get to school, all you remember is school. You walk past the fountain in the park and remember that you once wrote a heartfelt essay about it. You see the used book vendor on campus and remember buying Siddhartha and never reading it. You stroll through the neighborhood and remember the conversation that took place on that exact street while you and a classmate were wandering aimlessly, getting to know each other.
I walk down that street, and i think of him.
The truth is, i miss that friend. He still goes to my school, but i’m not friends with him anymore. To be honest, i dread running into him. We were the best of friends, but outside forces and an unfortunate turn of events ended our friendship.
This is my third year here, and although new classes, professors, and classmates are surely exciting, the things at the forefront of my mind this September are not schoolwork or my career or future, but the ways i’ve changed each year since starting college, and how i feel about those changes.
In September 2006, the start of my freshman year, college was basically boarding school to me. I learned that i am more obsessive-compulsive, anti-social, and generally incapable of living with strangers than i thought.
A year ago, i cared less about the academics and more about reaching out to others. I learned to love unconditionally. I was hurt.
Now, i’m just waiting. I’m patiently waiting for anything to happen. I have no regrets. My only wish is that this year will be as meaningful and life-changing as the last two have been.