Peaking (for Now)
Blogger: Aviva Alvarez-Zakson
Hello friends! Welcome back to the inner workings of my mind. As you have already witnessed, because I know you are all dedicated readers of mine, I am a senior and I have a lot of feelings. A few months back, I talked about my “last-firsts” and the impending doom I was feeling knowing that things were ending. Well, at this point in the year, almost everything has ended (or will end in about two months). As my college career whooshes past me at an alarming rate I have had this sinking feeling that it’s happened: I’ve peaked. People always say that college is the best time of your life, and if college is over, then the best must also be over. At least, this is how I felt.
Although I am going to miss (strike that, miss just isn’t a strong enough word) Oxy and everything it has offered me, I refuse to believe that this is it. I think that the whole “College is the best time of your life,” thing is an incomplete sentence. And I’m here to complete it.
College is the best time of your life... to develop and discover yourself as an adult.
I don’t think anyone can deny that you undergo serious developmental changes throughout your four years of college. As I told my sister when she started college, you basically go through a second puberty. You develop new, strange feelings… for academic areas. Even I flirted with Sociology and English before settling down with History. Your new love of mac ‘n’ cheese bites and/or sudden desire to run three miles a day has done weird things to your body. And, on top of everything, you feel awkward, like you’re taking up too much space or maybe a tiny fly on the wall. But, much like your first round of puberty, this is prime time to discover yourself and enter formal adulthood.
You can also use your new found feelings and passions for different subject to your advantage. One of the benefits of a liberal arts college like Oxy is you can flirt with so many different subjects; in fact, it’s all part of our Core Program. As a student here, you are required to take classes that range from laboratory sciences to global relations no matter what your actual major is. So have fun with it! Let marine biology treat you to a fun day at the beach (literally), get cute and snuggly with some classical literature, and have some deep and meaningful conversations with a gender politics class. Who knows? You might find a new major or minor and lifetime love. And this love will follow and support you through graduation, graduate school, employment opportunities, and all of life’s endeavors.
When it comes to the sometimes inevitable bodily changes, I’m not here to whine about the mythical “freshman fifteen,” or preach any diet/exercise plans, because frankly I think it’s all just plain silly. Your body will change in college. It might be because you’re dinner time is now 9 pm; or because you discovered caramel macchiatos and Portos at the Green Bean; or maybe your team has you squatting and benching more than you thought possible. All I am going to say is don’t preoccupy yourself on physical changes because it might distract you from all of the academic, mental, emotional, and developmental accomplishments you have made and achievements yet to come.
And when it comes to those moments of awkwardness (you know when you feel a twist in your gut or like there’s something on your face?), eventually you’ll realize that you’re not awkward, you’re just getting used to you. One of my professors once said, “There is not much anonymity here: everything you say and do is a little risk you take, and you are all so brave for doing it!” Getting to know yourself in a small environment like Oxy is a little scary, but, I find that the sooner people are real with themselves, they can be real with the rest of the world. People will and should love you for you. College is hard enough, don’t put extra pressure on yourself trying to be someone you think people would like. I think this is why so many students solidify their life-long best friendships from college during their senior year. After four years of maturing and getting to know ourselves and each other, we know who compliments us best. College is the time to experiment with your personality. It is the time to figure out and learn to love the person you are sending out into (what older members of society call) “the real, adult world.”
So, when it comes down to it, college has been the best time of my life… so far. And who knows what is yet to come? (No really, who does? Please share.) But there is one thing I do know, I am very happy and comfortable with the person I am sending off into the “real world” after graduation, and I have to thank Oxy for giving me the space and opportunities to grow into that person. So, yes, maybe I have peaked in life; but I can promise you all that it is not the highest peak I will reach.