Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Lie of the "Ultimate College Experience"

There are only seven weeks left until I leave my college for good. A week of Thursdays. It’s hard to believe that the past four years have finally narrowed down to this.

I remember being a freshman, seemingly so long ago, and coming to campus with a heart full of hopes and dreams. I was going to be a doctor. I was going to date handsome men. I was going to be on the honor roll and learn how to swing dance and be captain of the campus equestrian club. I was going to have that “college experience” that everyone was talking about. Everything would be a blast.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. 

 Four years have passed since I was a nineteen-year-old girl with a brand-new backpack. I still haven’t had that elusive “college experience.” I spend my nights and weekends doing homework, cleaning my room, talking to my soon-to-be fiancé, and living an otherwise un-glamorous life. So much for the popularity, parties, and posh cocktails.

But I’ve come to be at peace with that.

The most important thing I’ve learned at this secular liberal arts college is that I, as a Catholic Christian, am not called to be part of this world, but to live above it. That doesn’t mean that I’m being snobby or thinking that I’m better and more holy than everyone else; it simply means that I’m choosing a different lifestyle than most of my peers. A harder lifestyle, to be sure. It’s hard to be pure. It’s hard to save my body for the one man I hope to marry someday. It’s hard to not feel pressure to go out and get wasted, to hook up, to experiment with drugs and sex. It’s hard to see everyone else having “all the fun” while I lie alone in my single bed at night. It’s hard to have my boyfriend live a thousand miles away.

Why do I choose the rough life? Why do I make things harder for myself? Life is complicated enough, isn’t it? Why are Christians all about the self-denial, the delayed gratification, the misery, the hardship?

These are hard questions. They cut to the core of the human heart, which cries out from the depths of our universal loneliness, our need to be accepted, to be loved and to love. These are questions that all of us are asking, and I don’t have the answers to them.

All I know is that I have sought love in many different places; from men, from shopping for clothes, from TV shows and NetFlix binges, from food, from sex, from my friends. These things all give a temporary rush of relief, numbing the pain, but they never take it away completely. Only something higher than this world can relieve our thirst.

In seven weeks, I will leave this college life behind. I will start living the life of a real adult. My boyfriend will be moving from the East Coast to be close to me so we can further develop our relationship. I’ll be working and living on my own. None of the heartache that I’ve experienced here at college will matter anymore.

I won’t say that I’ve had a completely bad experience at college, and I certainly don’t regret going. An education is something that no one can take away from you, even if I can honestly say that I’ve learned very little academically here. I’ve learned more about human relationships, survival, being diplomatic and mature, and acting like an adult. I paid dearly for these experiences, but I know deep down that they were worth it.

I am excited to begin my new life after college. I am thrilled that soon Oddie and I will be married and sharing our bodies and our hearts. I am grateful that God brought me this far, and that He will continue to give me the strength to push forward, to carry on, to become the woman I was created to be.

When I started this blog almost two years ago, I didn’t know how far it would take me, or how long I would continue to write it. I’m grateful for all my faithful readers, and I hope that you will continue to stick with me.


No comments:

Post a Comment