The 2018-19 school year is now well on its way, and by now, most freshmen can surely tell that high school and college are absolutely nothing alike. The classes, the living situations, the people, the food – it’s like moving to a completely new planet. But I think that our surroundings aren’t the only aspects of our lives that have changed. With this incredible shift in outside pressures, it’s completely normal to expect a change within ourselves, too.
Coming to terms with this inevitable change, though, can be a difficult task. Humans are habitual creatures. We prefer to sleep in the same bed every night, to sit in the same desk every morning, to study in the same spots every afternoon. Something that’s important to note, however, is that we are not static creatures. We are meant to be constantly changing, growing and learning.
Facing this fact, then, we have to realize that we must also be willing to let go of who we once were. When we were younger, we were always so ready to be in high school, so ready to go to college, so ready to grow up. Now, many of us might find ourselves doing the opposite, holding onto the past for the sake of nostalgia.
Before moving to Stanford, I already knew that the person I’m destined to be was a question just floating in space, waiting to be answered. I wasn’t (and still am not) in a place to give that answer, yet. But the person I was – or, at least, that I thought I was – that, I was capable of grasping.
And throwing down the garbage chute (or into the compost bin).
College will bring many laughs, many midnight dinners surrounded by dozens of smiles and many adventures. However, there will also be many tears and many hardships. We should not shy away from these opportunities. Yes, opportunities. Instead, we should embrace them for these experiences will help sculpt us into the people we will one day be.
As willing as we are to welcome this new phase into our lives, we should also be willing to welcome our new selves, too. We should be okay with letting go of who we once were and embrace the opportunity to move forward into this world as newer and better people. It may hurt at first, but, maybe, in the end, breaking up with our old selves could be the best decision of our lives.
So, I think it’s time to move on and see other people and watch as they grow into the marvelous, world-changing adults we will one day be.
Contact Damian Marlow at ddrue ‘at’ stanford.edu.