February 16, 2011
As I was running through the Rice University campus, I found myself thinking about all of the other college campuses I have visited since I graduated (something of a hobby of mine), and I started reminiscing about my past college days.
After all, I graduated almost two years ago and I am surviving in what most people call “the real world.”
At this point in my life, I’m clinging to any memory of personal growth and mental prosperity I can conjure.
As I looked back fondly on my days as a student, one thing that was at the forefront of my mind was the congeniality and personality of each individual student and professor at OBU.
I found myself remembering everyone; or at least greeting people with a friendly hello or hand wave as we passed each other.
I remembered having amazing discussions about life with students, professors, RAs, RDs and anyone else who would give me the time of day.
I was taken back to deep conversations late at night in the thing my friends and I dubbed “the grotto,” and the long drives to Shawnee lake with nothing but amazing music, best friends and stars.
As I ran, I relived my progression from a freshman with my parents’ point of views to a senior with my own firmly grounded ideas, and I smiled broadly.
About that time, I snapped out of my happy memory and lifted my head up just as a student passed me.
I was so caught up in the moment and thinking it would be like old times, I smiled and tried to say hi.
She had her arms crossed and was hurrying past... Head down, no eye contact.
Okay, I thought to myself without discouragement, I’ll try someone else. But as I looked around, I realized this was the norm around here.
No one was speaking to each other; no one was smiling or even making eye contact.
Then I passed the student center.
Surely, I thought, I’d find professors and students sharing a coffee and speaking of nothing related to their specific subject concentration.
Alas, I was also disappointed here. Students were reading alone.
Not only did I not see professors and students growing one another, I didn’t see students growing each other.
I saw people standing alone, yet surrounded by others at the college bus stop.
I saw bike riders, musicians and art majors. But everyone was alone, no friends, no groups, no camaraderie.
“Well this sure is baffling,” I thought to myself.
And then it hit me; maybe my OBU experience WAS an amazing thing.
Maybe it was life changing.
Maybe it wasn’t just college, or a degree in mathematics or hard work, or something I had to go through to be something in this world.
Maybe it was a feeling of belonging, an exponential growth in all areas of my life, and most of all, a place to truly find myself.
And just maybe it was the best thing that ever happened to me.I look back to the hard times I overcame in college... to the hard times my friends overcame... And I realize that I will never be in that place in my life again. After all, we grow up, change and move on with life.
Families, kids, careers… that’s the typical journey we all follow in our own ways... that is expected; that’s life. But for now, live every moment.
Take advantage of the amazing opportunities you have been given. Befriend people that will grow you, your points of view and open your mind to new ideas and concepts.
Most of all, be thankful for the amazing gift you have been given no matter how much you hate it at the moment (I sure wish I was there for the CS Lewis Series!).
Don’t wait two years to appreciate the gift you have right in front of you. Live it up guys; though it might be the hardest time of your life, when you look back it will also be the most rewarding.