It is too easy to surrender to grey feelings, brought to the surface by murky weather, first exams, and stress-inducing papers. And as autumn marks its cold and wet stamp on campus, anxious blood flows through my veins and pounds with my heart.
Year after year, this happens – this change in mood; this change in season; this change in coursework; and this calling desire for stillness. To be still among all the change – to know that happiness is consistent, despite all of life’s ever-moving parts.
Walking on College Ave. today, I noticed the absence of the sun’s hot shine blazing through the sky. I noticed the trees’ thin limbs, waving and reaching, back and forth, as the drizzling rain, with such force, sparked movement down the street. Students dressed in sweatshirts and long jeans, proof to summer’s passing, ducked their heads under cotton hoods and umbrellas. They raced with the impatient gusts of September wind to their next destination.
And suddenly, without expectancy, a soft and subtle change of moisture and air crept across my path. On the wet road, I saw the reflections of white headlights and red blinkers, flashing for different directions. I inhaled the fresh chilly air, an invisible stream, flowing in my direction. And, in such a small moment, a realization came to mind: I am not alone in this. I am never alone in this. And neither are you.
Attending a university is thrilling; it is exciting; it is an intellectually and socially adventurous pursuit that we, as young adults, are privileged to partake in. But as the seasons themselves, nothing is an unchanging and one-dimensional act. No experience is black-and-white. The sun can seclude its rays, just as the wind can shake the trees, just as the rain can cause us to shelter our heads and dart indoors.
College can be difficult and complicated to manage. It can be can be mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. It can become a juggling act or slippery surface within a matter of shifting weeks. Semesters of coursework, no matter how intriguing and enjoyable, can lead us to burned-out brains and sleepy aching eyes. But this current semester in our lives is a small portion in the larger picture. This is but a small detail of our larger roles as human beings on this planet. This is something every single university student experiences when driving to excel in his or her studies. This is a shared experience of emotions that not one single student journeys through alone.
When the road is too slick, do not hesitate to pull over and break. When the work is too heavy, do not hesitate to take a moment to yourself and breathe. When the busy atmosphere becomes overwhelming, do not hesitate to talk to a friend; talk to a parent or guardian; connect with RU’s incredible amount of helpful resources – such as CAPS.
To traditional and non-traditional students, of all ages, remember that no one (neither myself or yourself) is alone during these passing moments of assumed weakness or felt exhaustion. Everyone journeys through pleasures and pains; successes and failures; low moments and high and bountiful returns. And everyone, in due time, recaptures his or her internal strength and passionate fuel once again.
*Image: Captured on my iPhone, edited using VSCO