Something I’m Not – Before writing this, I looked back at the first ever Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down that I wrote back in December. I was new, and the glorious legacy of the previous thumbs made me feel as if I had to replicate their style. As I reflect on this semester, I’m coming to realize that this wasn’t the only thing I tried to copy during my freshman year. Not copy as in the editing, but copy as in replicating, trying to become something I wasn’t. I rushed into the year thinking that I had to conform to every standard that was presented to me to be accepted at my new school. I was eager to be the cool kid, one that fit in more than I did in high school. I was never an outsider, but in college I wanted to make sure that I was never considered weird or different. For a while, I jumped in the river of homogeneity and let the current carry me far downstream. Later on, I hit some rough water, and found that my propensity toward conformity had pulled my head underwater, causing me to lose sight of who I was. Sinking to the bottom, I untied the weights from around my ankles and climbed to the shore, dazed, scared, and changed, but in control again nonetheless. I trekked along the bank back to where I started, exhausted from the journey, but determined to make things right. Along the way, friends on dry land helped hold me up, and taught me how to walk again. To all the incoming freshmen, I advise against getting pulled in by the tide. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and find friends that will pull you out if you ever do happen to fall in. These aren’t always the people you think they are.
The King – Under the sunny sky on the streets of a city in Portugal, the young prince dribbles the ball past his friend in the alley behind his house. He fakes left, goes right, and slides the ball past the keeper. He runs out to the far side of the street, imagining thousands of screaming fans as he jumps and does a 180 degree turn in midair, shouting as he lands and throwing his arms down beside his body. His friends laugh, but little do they know his potential. Some 20 years later, the king has grown up, and after scoring his third goal in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal, he goes to celebrate with the sea of supporters packing the stands, his dream now a reality. His younger self knew he’d get there eventually, one alleyway goal at a time.
Time Moves Quickly – Being a freshman is by no means a desirable lifestyle. We’re hated on, rejected from parties, prone to making mistakes, annoyingly eager at times, and simply just less experienced in navigating the jungle that is college than our upperclassmen counterparts. But there’s a sort of freedom that comes with being a freshman, a sort of newbie pass that encourages us to realize that our mistakes are inevitable, whereas other slipups down the road might have greater consequences. The veil of freshman year is something I’ll gladly relinquish, but at the same time, it was a journey for which I’ll always be thankful.
Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor