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.