Oh, the places I’ve been!
The squeaky clean tables of Perkins, the gleaming floors of Cameron,
The sweaty walls of Shooters, the sweatier walls of Wilson,
I must say, at times, these places have filled me with woe,
But there will never be a time when I am ready to go.
With my head full of mischief and my heart full of blue,
I arrived on East Campus, ready to start things anew.
My parents pulled me aside and said, “College is a dangerous place.
It’s time to grow up, to make sure you’re safe.”
And safely did I wander through these four years. But most of it’s blurry because of the beer.
I made a bucket list of ways to grow up before you leave, and you’ve probably had enough! Of course, you’re not that naïve!
Wait! There’s one thing left to say that I probably should,
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The last item on this list is to never lose your childhood.
It’s a strange thing to say, given the things we’re told. From the first day, we try to fit the mold. With our brains full of careers and our bags full of books, we worry about performance, we worry about looks. When the employment stats come in, we fill our planners with meetings; sometimes there’s no time for fun, and barely time for eating.
And as we leaf through many books, so fast we break the seams,
We forget the books of our past, where we sketched out our dreams.
At times the suit feels so stuffy, and the heels feel so high,
The pressure gets so heavy; all we want to do is cry.
It’s in moments like these you should remember why you came; and no, it wasn’t merely because of the name.
It’s because of the kids who needed to discover who they are; sadly, you probably thought you could find it at a bar.
I thought so, too, until I took a great plunge. I traveled far and learned much; I felt like a sponge.
I learned how to serve others, I learned how to be (blue) devilish,
I went from philosophy to Spanish to chemistry to English.
I wish I had a GPS, because at times I felt so lost. They tell you to experiment, they don’t tell you the cost.
And then I remembered books that as a little girl, I read. I remembered all the things that they so beautifully said. It hit me so suddenly, out of the blue. Writing is what I like, so writing I’ll do.
The right map isn’t in the emails your parents send, nor is it there in the notes of your friends. It’s found at that moment, near the brink of defeat. You’ll know why you’re different when the old and new “you” meet. I don’t promise things will suddenly get clear, but you’ll see who you are, and what you hold dear.
Now looking back, I don’t remember too much; not the tests nor the papers, not even the grades and such. But I remember the nights that seemed to never end: dancing and singing and laughing with friends, looking at the shot clock right before every game, not knowing if we’d win but knowing the pride would feel the same, flying a kite in the gardens just like I was five, counting the days down until LDOC would finally arrive.
I started by wondering how I’d get through four years, and now, looking back it’s hard to fight back the tears. So if you have time, and you feel like you’re drowning, remember the big picture, don’t waste muscles frowning.
Whether you’re an Emilia or a Mike, a Saher or a Susan, a surgical doctor, a sly politician,
You’ll do many things, they’ll probably be great. You may fall sometimes, you may get irate.
And then you’ll wonder when you suddenly grew up, when you exchanged a shot glass for a tiny tea cup.
Somehow you’ll discover, after all the places you’ve been,
That college was best ‘cause you kept the child within.
One day, glancing at photos on an old dusty, shelf,
You’ll see that here you found magic, when you found yourself.
Sony Rao is a Trinity senior. This is her final column of the semester. You can follow Sony on Twitter @sony_rao.