The Simple Things
As a senior in college, everyday is a constant game of “who’s going to ask me what I want to be when I grow up today?” The answers I rattle off are routine now, but the answers I want to give are promises to my generation that we might never have. For example, I want to say, it’s always been my dream to pay my college loans by the time I’m thirty. Or I’d like to be able to imagine a safe life with a partner of my choosing. I’m trying to figure out when exactly in my life I began to wish for things as seemingly simply as safety. Being a senior and forcing myself to think of life on my own after being safely enclosed behind the ivy halls of my four-year institution is terrifying.
We make adulthood the modern-day horror movie because suddenly we’re given autonomy over every aspect of our life. Figuratively this should be rewarding and exciting, but for me, as someone that hasn’t had much experience outside of my working class town in Maine, I’m stuck not knowing where to go from here. Of course I’ve been making decisions about my own body and sexuality for a while now, but applying those decisions to what college students deem “the real world” is where the true challenge lies. Luckily at Smith College I’ve been given every academic opportunity possible, but the one thing colleges lack is how to apply all of this academia to “the real world.” My landlord won’t care if I have a 3.5 GPA, or that I’m editor of a literary journal. He will care if I’m late with rent because I’ve been taught over and over again that college loans are worth it and I should be paying those sooner rather than later.
Through all this fear; however, I’ve been trying to be gentle with myself. I get to take control over my own body. I’m going to repeat that just in case once wasn’t enough: I get to take control over my own body. For me, and for many of my fellow seniors, this is the one exciting thing behind every terrifying realization. Yes we have to think about every food item we put in our body and the expense behind it, but we get to leave behind expensive meal plans. This seems like an over simplification of an ordinary life event, but for me, autonomy over my own body has been limited by academia, and it IS simple, but that’s what we should be focusing on right now: the simple things. All of us are making so many huge life decisions we forget to be excited about small things. I’ve come to realize that my generation is one, despite arguments against us, that can find joy in simple things. For me, that joy comes from the idea that I get to live as myself for once, with nothing hindering me. What I’m saying is that we’re more ready than we think we are. I’ve found that the most comforting thing to do as a senior in college is step back and find small things that make me happy, because for now we’re going to have to rely on small accomplishments to get us through to the big ones.