Can y’all believe we only have a month left as freshman? What the heck? Where did the time go?
This week I had a few spare moments during the ~wellness days~ to reminisce and remember my first-year experiences. The weather in Nashville has been spectacular this past week, so most of my thinking has been done in the sun to try to develop some sort of a tan before the summer creeps up on my pale body. As I sat on my complimentary Commons blanket, I looked around and saw all the masked faces at Rand. I saw students smiling. I heard the acapella groups in the tent belting their hearts out. I heard the rumbling of a skateboard flying past. I saw the community that for so many months has been hidden.
This spring semester has been above and beyond my fall semester. The fall was rough for me, y’all. It kicked my butt. Rest in peace to anyone in General Chemistry. Yet, this spring has given me a new kind of hope. I feel like I have connected with so many of my peers, which I didn’t think was possible. My renewed attitude for going to college in a pandemic was thanks to my class, “Buddhist Traditions” with Adeana McNicholl. I took this class fall 2021, but its meaning and context didn’t fully hit me until I returned from break.
I was raised around Christian holidays, but I was never fully religious. I didn’t expect much from taking this class; maybe a deeper knowledge on the history of Buddhism. Somehow this class made me have a Britney Spears-style breakdown, epiphanies, and lots of “Why am I here?” moments. Christianity never prepared me how to deal with pain and suffering. It taught me to trust God and follow His word, whatever that may be. Yet, Buddhism offered the perspective that suffering and pain were a part of life. It offered principles and rituals to conceptualize and contend with that pain. In the middle of an isolating, confusing, and scary pandemic, this is what I needed most. I do not claim to be a Buddhist, but the principles of this “religion” have given me an invaluable perspective as I face these adult challenges that leave me feeling lost.
Every one of us is just a tiny speck on a tiny planet in a big universe. This scared me at first. And that’s ok. It’s freeing when you think about it. You have no pressure to be anything other than what you want to be. Life carries on and will dependably keep going with or without you. Life is so temporary when you think about it that you can’t waste your time sweating the small stuff. Live your life for you. Eat the donut. Ask someone on the date. Go out with friends instead of studying (I know, don’t freak out, the world will not end if you don’t study). I know that we aren’t in the best of circumstances to really live out this life philosophy, since we are literally banned from doing things, like parties or traveling. But, I promise we will do this again. This spring has given me a taste of what it’s like to be a Vandy student, and my time here has given me such much to be grateful for. I can’t wait for my next years here as a student, and I am so grateful for the experiences, people, and perspectives this place has given me.