My First Year

About a year ago, it was my senior year of high school. I had been accepted to Bryn Athyn College and had created an image of what it would be like. I decided that college was a bunch of young adults sitting around talking about politics. Pretty silly, I know. The funny thing is that based on the data of my first year at college, that image is more or less right. College is obviously much more than that but I had to laugh quietly anytime I found myself in that exact situation this past year because it happened surprisingly often. I thought to myself: so this is what college is like.

Looking at myself and who I was a year ago is a very strange experience. I know it sounds super corny but my first year of college has changed me and how I think. I have learned quite a lot in just one year which makes it feel like it has been a much longer chunk of time. But it also makes sense. I have done a lot of growing and have hit a lot of firsts: My first job that wasn’t cleaning or babysitting, my first time doing my taxes, my first time driving a road trip, my first car accident, the first time I’ve made a friend from scratch since elementary school, my first date, my first boyfriend, my first college show, the list just goes on and on. I feel much more capable and responsible after all that and yet college has also opened my eyes to everything else that there is to be capable of and responsible for.

I now know so much and yet simultaneously am painfully aware of all the things I don’t know. I found myself leaving discussions with teachers having more questions that I had come in with even though my original question had been answered. I took classes because I was interested in the subject and wanted to know more and yet was left feeling like I didn’t know anything about the subject despite getting good marks on the exam. As frustrating as that feeling is, I am grateful for it. Knowledge and truth are pretty much inexhaustible and that means that I can keep on learning and I love to learn. So I am looking forward to the rest of my years of college where I can keep getting answers and keep leaving with more questions.

My next three years of college will also be an opportunity for me to practice self-reflection, a skill which I realize now I had only pretended to practice before this year. The people, the classes, and the teachers at Bryn Athyn College all create an environment in which I have plenty of chances to practice spiritual, civil and moral growth. I have been in situations I did not know I would have to deal with and be interacting with people who are extremely different from me. My social experiences have left me in a very similar state of mind as my academic experience. I have answered quite a few questions about myself and others and yet I also am left to realize that I have so much more to work through.

I have learned to face my spirituality in a way that I was never made to do before. I have had to ask myself painful questions about what I think based on what people are telling me. I have had to reconcile myself to the fact that even with so many ministers at the college to answer my questions (or maybe because there are so many) ultimately I am going to have to make my own spiritual judgments and live my own spiritual life.

This past year I studied the New Testament, read and analyzed Fight Club, learned what an authoritative government looks like, and how to properly conduct a statistical study. But those are just of my academic discoveries. I could write a hundred different articles describing the social and spiritual discoveries I have made over the past year, but suffice to say I have a lot more discovering to do and I am excited to get started.

P.S. If you’re feeling a little melodramatic like me, I highly recommend listening to the music of Regina Spektor. My most recent favorite is “The Light” from the album: Remember Us to Life. The lyrics really resonate with me and my reflections on my first year.

About Tykah Echols

Tykah is the daughter of a New Church minister and has been learning about the church since infancy. She attended both the Bryn Athyn Elementary schools and the Academy of the New Church. She is now a student at Bryn Athyn college where she hopes to continue learning about the religion she was born into. She knows that there is much more for her to learn about the Lord, his teachings and herself.

One thought on “My First Year

  1. Thanks for these reflections, Tykah. I’m glad that you are able to observe these changes and growth in yourself, and that you’re enjoying the process. (Ugh, how frustrating to leave a conversation with more questions than you entered with! -frustrating on one level, although it’s great that you see the value in it, on another.) Congratulations on the firsts you’ve experienced and the growth you’ve achieved, this first year! Best wishes for continued growth and introspection, and many more experiences in the years to come! 🙂 (P.S. I wish I’d taken the time to do such reflection, at your age/stage!)

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