When I was a little girl, I remember looking up to the college kids whom I occasionally shadowed at church and wishing that I was their age. It wasn’t just because I was jealous they could actually reach the snacks on the top cubby, but they all seemed to have a certain vibe.
College is a time of empowerment. I think at our ages, between 18-22, we truly believe we make a difference So when we support the Children’s Hospital with the annual Dance Marathon, when we go to National Coming Out Week events, or broke the world record last year for most vaccine shots in one place in eight hours for the Flulapalooza. And even if Vandy is still growing in its football program, it doesn’t mean we can’t fill a stadium because we don’t have school spirit.
So we take our classes. We spend hours and hours doing homework; repetition and drills and practical real life problem sets. Or group projects about roles and norms in groups and how to prevent conflict before the consequences of miscommunication through the study of group dynamics in HOD 1100. Or if you’re in Blair you learn about music with all its historical contexts and modern usages and how to sing according to dichords and solfege, you practice music in a 12X12 foot room with your buddy Dmitri.
But it’s not only the writing, math, practicing, and programming we gain. We learn time management, organizational skills, people skills. Boy, are people skills a big one. We learn how we run, and discover that four-and-a-half hours of sleep per night for a week straight actually transforms you into a robot.
Fundamentally, therefore, we learn about ourselves in college. We learn about the “what”s with the head knowledge, the “how”s of our limits to survival through our successes and failures, and the “why”s to what we want to contribute to the world.
This drive we, now young adults, have isn’t naive or Don Quixote-like, though. I think a better word to describe us would be passionate.