Friday, September 26, 2014

Time Dilation

I can no longer count the number of days I have been at Stanford on my fingers. This is surprising, because it feels as though I have been here forever.

This is only my first week of classes, and everything is new and hectic and not yet figured out. But because the sheer density of events is high, it feels as though the past eleven days could instead be measured in weeks. The Stanford bubble is temporal as well as physical, it seems.

In these busy first days, I'm always running about from one thing to the next (or rather, biking). It's hard to remember to take the time to sit down and think about things, to reflect. I wrote in Ubermadchen on Tuesday, but the thread of story is thin in the stream of classes and assignments and worries and activities, and I don't even notice when I haven't written for days. Which is a pity: the girls deserve better than that.

The saying goes that time flies when you're having fun. I propose a corollary, that time slows down when you're hit with new thing after new thing. Maybe--and I am no neuroscientist, so this may be completely wrong--our perception of time is based mostly on how much processing power we're using, so that three minutes trying to get to the next dining hall over without getting run over by the cars whooshing by feels like it takes ten times as long as three minutes strolling casually back from a performance.

I worry sometimes that I'm losing myself in this constant flood of stuff to do. As I complained about in the last post, I have no authority, no gravitas as a freshman. And as arrogant as this makes me, I think that by temperament I am better suited to positions of power. I do better, mentally, when I have choice than when I'm dependent.

So I am at least partially displeased by the way I have to go with the flow: have to do this and this and this, rather than enjoy hours in which to write. But I would trade almost nothing for this--for my classes, even when they make me feel inadequate; for the new people I'm meeting, as my mind expands in ways I can't yet tell; for this campus I am beginning to learn, in which I could still (and do, and will) get lost.

The ambivalence remains. I'm becoming someone else, by being here and doing what I'm doing. The process is slow, and day by day I can't really tell in what ways I'm changing. Two weeks may feel like a season, but it really is only two weeks. I am not through with my metamorphosis. (I don't think I ever will be, but that may be a cognitive bias of mine.)

We'll see how things stand at the end of the quarter. Or rather, "we" won't, because who knows who we will be by then?


I'll stop writing posts about my transition to college when it stops being the most important and prominent thing in my life.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you're having fun. See you on game day. GO BEARS