Okay guys, this is doing to sound weird. But I’m doing my best to explain a feeling in a way that is relatable, and feelings are difficult to describe sometimes.
So. College talks to you. The classes, the books, the people, the signs, the systems, the atmosphere. They send a message. And in the wee hours of this morning when I got back to UB from Syracuse, I felt lonely. College was telling me, “Maggie, you are alone.”
You know me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I crave structure (especially when I’m tired). I like having a few trusted authority figures in my life to make sure everything’s okay. I would love it if someone was there when I got off the bus last night to hug me and drive me home and send me to bed. But nobody did that. My family was hours away. I had just been completely emotionally counterproductive by spending the prior two hours riding away from my home (my real one in CNY). I am far away from the things that comfort me most. And that felt scary and lonely and sad.
But I caught a hold of where this feeling was going, and I did not want to spend the rest of the night in tears, feeling homesick; I wanted to print my homework and go to bed. So I grabbed on to this feeling of loneliness, this statement that college was telling me, and I said to it, “Hold up. What are you doing here? I don’t like you.” (I sound completely crazy, keep in mind that I wrote this at 2:30 this morning.) And then I realized that I was so tired that I had completely misheard what college had said. It wasn’t saying, “You are alone.” It was saying, “You are in charge of your life.” Those two sentences are easy to mix up; don’t do it. I am not alone. My family is with me even when you’re 2 hours away. I saw you guys yesterday and I’ll see you again in 29 days for Thanksgiving. I have my Lemon Loungers and my band friends here on campus. I have my Alma Mater’s band, which I saw just a few hours ago. I have two schools of qualified educators who are supporting me, LHS and UB. And I have the knowledge that I’m never alone with my Lord at my side (“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6).
I am not alone. Instead, I am in charge of my life. College said, “Hey, right now it seems like not too many people are looking out for you; you have to learn to look out for yourself now. That’s going to feel difficult and scary and lonely, like it does right now. You are going to have to walk home in the cold and the dark when you’re physically and emotionally exhausted. You’re going to have to choose between work and fun and it won’t be easy. You’re going to have to do some things by yourself. you’re going to feel absolutely spent at times. But it is going to show you how capable you are, how self-motivated you are, how responsible and conscientious and sufficient and brave you are. It’s going to show you how strong you are, because you ARE strong.” Don’t focus on the lonely, focus on the strong.
So I hugged my uniform bag and my case, I drove myself back to the dorms using my own two feet, and I tucked myself into bed after doing more leftover homework than anticipated. But I had Meg and Catherine to walk with me, I had the Lemon Lounge full of my hallmates to welcome me back and keep me company, and I feel as though you three are here with me right now, listening to me tell you all about it.
I am not alone. Ben and Rosie and Brady, you are not alone, even when you feel like you are, not now and not in 3, 7, and 15 years, respectively, when you are each in your freshman years of college.
I love you lots (and I am always with you)