Needles to say, I'm loving it so far. But it can't all be rosy. This is a tough time of year. The high spirits of Christmas and New Years have passed, to be replaced late sunrises, early sunsets, cold winds, and persistent coughs. Mix that in with the expected responsibilities of work, home, family, and friends...well, it can just be hard. For everybody.
I don't know about you, but on my tougher days, I often catch myself reflecting on perceived "better" times. These days, I think of Bryn Mawr, the idyllic Main Line campus where I spent the last four years. In the throes of stress or annoyance at my present situation, my time as a student seems so perfect. At least for a little while, I manage to convince myself that I was never haggard, stressed, or angry over the course of those four years. Nothing seems more appealing than going back to those times when everything was easy and enjoyable.
Of course, I'm deluding myself in these moments. My time at Bryn Mawr was far from perfect. There were days, more than a few of them, when I collapsed into my bed at the end of the day, wanting nothing more than to go home, hide in my childhood bedroom, drink a hot cup of tea, and be comforted by my mother.
There was that Friday night, early in my freshman year, when I returned to my hall to find it almost empty, leaving me all too aware of my loneliness and lack of established friend network. Or the time my senior thesis proposal came back from the department with more red ink than black. And who could forget the time I almost buckled under the weight of homesickness in Scotland (see my first post)?
My college years had their rotten moments. There's no doubt about it. But oddly enough, they are not the memories that first spring to mind when I hear the name of my alma mater. It's all the good times that come flooding back.
Servant Year, for all the benefits, is very hard sometimes. But amid the stubborn bouts of anxiety, insecurity, frustration, and anger, there is the knowledge that these moments will pass. A few years down the line, I may very well not even remember them. There will, sure as I breathe, come a time when my heart will ache for lack of Servant Year and DioPA, just as it aches for lack of Bryn Mawr today.
As we move along life's path, loss is inevitable. And when there is loss, there's mourning. But what can we do to move on from these moments of nostalgia? As I stand here now, at the halfway point of my first real post-graduate experience, I am making a commitment to accumulate as many good moments as I can. I promise to use these months to spend as much time as possible with my coworkers, fellow members, and program staff. To soak up every skill I possibly can. To watch with excitement as the snow melts and the days grow longer, ushering in the beauty of a Philadelphia spring. These are the things I'll remember. These are the things that matter.
So, tell me. Despite the frustrations you're facing, what are the best parts of your life right now? What will you miss as life inevitably changes?