Today, it dawned on me at last: I am a college student.
I was sitting peacefully in SAGA when it happened, strategically placed in a quieter corner of the cafeteria near a sunny window overlooking the verdant softball field below. There was a cheery mug of Earl Grey tea tenderly cupped in my palm (to which I had added honey and a dash of soy milk with great expertise) that was softly radiating warmth, and I was intently hunched over, studying the pages of The Oresteia in all its beauty and horror and intricacy, furiously highlighting, underlining, and starring countless phrases out of pure excitement and enjoyment of the gripping ancient text. And then I suddenly halted — awestruck. I was still alive after over a month of independence; I was successfully navigating Wheaton College. On my way to the crowded cafeteria, and even amidst the harried process of finding an unoccupied table, I was able to spot numerous kind, familiar faces in the sea of ravenous humans. To my left, a girl from my French class that very morning who has mastered quite an impressive accent. (C’est magnifique!) To my right, a compassionate girl from my residence hall floor that had once generously transported my car-less freshman self to a nearby Target without hesitation. These people that I am now beginning to distinguish among the masses have names and stories, strengths and weaknesses, moments of great vulnerability and triumphs; I am finally beginning to realize that truth. We are all undeniably interconnected, even in the most seemingly insignificant of ways.
So, I continued on, feeling just a bit lighter and as if the world was somehow reborn anew as a noticeably friendlier place. I successfully checked my CPO box, no longer helplessly fumbling with the clumsy lock or struggling to recall the digits of my combination; I paused to admire blooming flowers along the concrete path that I trod as I thoughtfully weighed the benefits of various studying locations in my mind — fully oriented with no need of a campus map or spoken direction.
As apprehension ebbs into a form of assuaging familiarity, I ponder: could this be home?