Considering the fact that I’ve spent so much time this summer stressing about the future, I find it odd that suddenly my worries have evaporated, leaving behind nothing but this odd mix of new feelings, ones like peacefulness and acceptance and hope and excitement, the same ones I used to have when I thought about all of the potential that fills the road ahead of me (Pretty sure that’s a massive run-on sentence. Sorry.). Where will I go? Who will I become? Finally, there are no limits anymore.
I’ve also spent a lot of time stressing over other peoples’ journeys, asking if, because the path I’m taking is different than theirs, I’m somehow behind in life or just don’t measure up. But again, this stupid anxiety is being replaced by a new, more positive affirmation: that I should embrace the weird twists and turns that make up my story, because they’re kind of really awesome.
But enough of the future—I want to enjoy the here and the now. On my run the other morning, as I was descending one of the Monster Hills in my neighborhood and I looked out on the horizon to see the blue morning sky kissing the open fields of hay bales below, then back down ahead of me to see the wildflowers in the field to my right, I remembered how happy I am to be here, at home. To be running a lot and finally getting chafe marks and blisters again. To be up and finished with my workout before anyone else in my family is awake.
So on that note, here it is: home.
“Babys” by Bon Iver
My first year at college, I attended a massive state university (I’ll bet you can guess the one). In the first semester, I had to learn a valuable lesson in focusing on studying that involves the library. Seeing as how I’m taking an online course right now about information systems at Fontbonne, I started thinking about my experience. I figured you’d like to hear a story, so here we go.
I’ve always been a fairly competent test-taker. All throughout high school, I’d put in a minuscule amount of effort into studying the night before a big test. The next day I’d walk in, wing it, and do fine. Not so in college. The first battery of tests hit me like a ton of bricks because I hadn’t studied nearly enough. I failed almost every one of them. Now, I’d always been an ‘A’ and ‘B’ student, so this reality was quite jarring. I knew that if I was to survive the next wave, I’d really have to buckle down and get serious about studying. So when it came time for round two, I packed up all my books and notebooks (and trusty music player), found a cozy spot at my school’s massive library, and spent an entire weekend studying. Consequently, I knew the material for the tests and didn’t have a problem.
See, the problem I’d discovered was that even if I was in my dorm and my roommate wasn’t doing anything overtly interesting, I’d still find a way to distract myself. So I had to adapt. I had to remove myself from the outside world for as long as was necessary (whole days, in some cases) and concentrate solely on the work in front of me. This has been my go-to “let’s get serious” method of studying ever since.
If you need to just get away from things for a while and focus on studying, I can recommend no better place than the library.