As I sit here in the Sacramento airport, after crying into the phone for reasons that may have to do more with the aftermath of picnic day than the fact that I’m feeling nostalgic, have made me realize how special and truly crucial it is to have friends in your life. Transitioning from college to the real-world doesn’t have a play-by-play guide book. It doesn’t have a yahoo questions page, and it isn’t the same for every person; so in short it’s frustrating. It’s at time almost too much, and it’s lonely.
College is a phase of your life where you are guided from high school to adulthood through a smooth transition filled with friendships, beer, fun classes, and jobs that may just be time fillers. College gives you the resources for the future and it teaches you how to make friends, and also how to keep the good ones. College teaches you that mistakes and failing are necessary for growth and that there is a time limit to most things, though at times as humans we often ignore this factor. With graduation comes gifts and sweet blessings about your new life and about all the potential you have. You are merely a seed and the world is waiting to see what you become. But like any seed or living thing, we must go through the pain and uncomfortability of growth.
I read once that change is similar to a seed sprouting- you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and at times not even you are sure what is happening. But without that weight and pain, we can’t grow or break through the phase we are currently in to become something partially or new altogether.
So even though referring to yourself as a seed is not the best metaphor, it makes more than enough sense. Being back to Davis and seeing all the familiar faces made me sad at first and jealous of the friends who are still here living through their undergrad. It is now that I see the small bubble we were all in together and that I see more clearly how now we are scattered, following our passions, and though we may feel lonely, we are all doing the same thing. Though some may have moved home with mom or dad, or paying way too much for rent, or living with crazy roommates, or staying up late wondering what the f they are going to do with their lives still, we are all just trying to break through that surface, to grow, and to become what college has prepared us to become. I am still sad and I do still carry this uncomfortable sense of nostalgia in my stomach, but I realized it isn’t the place that brought this, but the people I was there with. Davis will always be there. Schaal pool will be filled with swimmers, divers, and polo players. The DC will continue to serve grilled cheese and a burrito bar and Froggies hopefully will continue to be the “talk and sit” bar. But what does change, what continues to shift and change, is the people that inhabit this place.
I feel lucky to have made relationships with people where a year can pass and we are suddenly time warped back to sitting around a table discussing our plans for the future. I feel lucky that though we are all living in different cities following or trying to follow our dreams, feeling sometimes unbearably lonely in doing that, that a phone call away someone is feeling these same things. I think though no one really mentions that your 20s are some of the scariest years, that you won’t know what you are doing most of the time, and that no amount of post-it’s can help you map out what will come next, there is still a silent bubble we are all in together, spread out farther than the boarders or YOLO county. As I sit here typing this, I still don’t have a word to describe how I feel, perhaps the opposite of lonely? Maybe it’s that sadness that comes with remembering something great. Maybe it’s the fear that is always with me about what next year will look like. Maybe it’s the excitement of the unknown and the idea of learning more. Maybe it’s that small twinge of happiness of realizing that picnic day can be celebrated differently next year with friends. Maybe it’s the realization that we are all actually growing up. I can’t help but smile at this one.
Though it’s been less than a year, I continue to be inspired by the amazing things my fellow Aggies are doing. The world welcomed us with open arms and we are continuing to carve our own path into it. I read recently that redwood trees can grow up to 300 feet tall. Though this fact is astounding, this is not what intrigued me. Redwood tree roots are very shallow and extend over hundreds of feet and are intertwined with one another below the ground. These trees literally support each other and help each other stand tall. I like to imagine this same idea for my friends and myself, we are all growing at this time, trying to reach our own potential, but we are all doing it together, intertwining with one another. Seeing it this way it makes it almost impossible to stop. To stop staying connected. To stop staying in each other’s lives and fundamentally, to stop growing ourselves.