Tuesday, September 2, 2014



I start college in two weeks and I don't really know what to feel about that. Unsurprisingly, since it's lasted over three months now, this summer has felt long. Interminable, almost; I've always had more time left. Enough time to drag my feet, put things off. But now I have two weeks left, and that isn't terribly much.

Most of my friends are on the semester system and have already left for or started school. They are already in the thick of things, taking classes, meeting new people--including themselves, the selves they are away from home.

I want that to start. I'm ready to go to college and, going from my memories of extreme boredom and frustration from senior year, have been for a while. At the same time, this summer has been a long liminal moment, and once it ends I have to do a lot of work. It's not that I don't want to challenge myself and grow; it's just that the inertia of the past three months is pretty comfortable and I might have a hard time adjusting to running at full capacity again.

Two weeks. I'm starting to wrap things up. I've been self-studying calc and physics and this week is when I'm scheduled to finish my self-prescribed review plans. I've started thinking about the last coding project I'll have time for--which I may not even finish in two weeks. In Ubermadchen I've written up to the part where I projected I'd be at the end of the summer, and anticipate getting most or all of the way through a big section before I leave.

(Speaking of which: art imitates life. The UM girls are almost at a point where they'll be cut off from the familiar and known and have to find out who they are when they're independent. Sound familiar?)

(That's not much of a spoiler; essentially any book with teenage main characters functions on some level as a bildungsroman, and every bildungsroman by definition includes a transition from child to adult.)

I'm not sure if I'm a future oriented or past oriented person. I make lots of plans, obsessively almost, but I also intro/retrospect a whole lot and mine my personal history for story material. Recently I've oscillated between these two states: between thinking about everything that's about to end, and thinking about everything that's about to start.

Thus far this post has been more about what's ending, and the voice that likes to talk about the future is getting restless. It's always restless, and I'm not surprised to find that so at the brink of such a big transformation. A lot of spaces in my future are blank; I don't know much of what I'm planning with or around.

Earlier in the summer, a friend sent me a list of advice for college students. One item was "you don't have to reinvent yourself."

But when I look at the map of my future territory, the biggest blank is the thing that looks. Who will I become, once I'm out of the house? My personality and values are, I think, reasonably stable and have been since childhood, but that doesn't mean that different behaviors may become more or less prominent.

(Side note: when a straight-laced kid starts talking about potential changes, that may sound potentially troublesome, so let me state categorically that I will not be trying any substances in college. One thing I value is control and I hatehatehate the idea of losing it, whether to peer pressure or through any drug's physical effects.)

And so I speculate, hypothesizing about outcomes which I will know in a few weeks: who will I become? What kinds of things will I do? Who will my friends be? How will I spend my time? What kinds of conversations will I have? Will I have time to keep up my writing? (I sure hope so.) What will I learn and how will it change me?

I have a vague idea of who I want to become in college. Start with a functional adult. Add on immense enthusiasm and dedication to learning interesting things. More self-awareness and self-control. More grace in social situations, because being introverted is perfectly fine but being awkward and shy could hinder my progress. (Though I must remember to be patient.)

My ultimate goal, I think, is to become a benevolent leader with a brilliant and practical vision of improvement for humanity. At this point I think I'm like Octavius, the tagalong kid who hasn't really been tested yet, who has had his hand held but is raging to prove himself. I'd like to become more Octavian-like: strategic, focused, and stoic. Eventually, if all goes well, I will turn into Augustus.

Did I mention that two weeks ago, on August 19, it was the 2000th anniversary of his death? And there are still people (me included) who draw inspiration from his life. His name is remembered 2000 years after he stopped existing. How can I leave that large of a mark on the world?

Things are ending and things are beginning. And I stand on the threshold, ready (am I ready?) to walk through.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you are definitely ready. And you are not becoming someone else, you are growing into who you will be, the core is all the same, *you* are the same, only you're adding pieces to the puzzle. And it is going to be amazing!
    Best of luck for this new beginning, may you become the Augustus you're supposed to be.