Tuesday, June 23, 2009

summer of '69

The ages of 18 to 22 are typically referred to as the 'best years of your life.' After some 'research' of my own, I can agree that there is never another time in life quite like the college years. The lack of responsibility and rules, paired with a yet-to-be-fully-developed frontal lobe (responsible for self-control and judgment), make for an interesting time in themselves. Throw in 70-some-odd bars in a 2 mile radius and you are in for quite a ride. While many 18 year-olds waste no time 'finding themselves' (often on bathroom floors, hugging less than sanitary porcelain) and enjoying their new found freedom right away, it took me a little longer to ease out of my sheltered-small-town-bubble and into the self-searching mind of a college kid. It wasn't until the ripe age of 21 that I 'let go' and allowed my environment to begin to have an impact on the person I was becoming. I opened my world to new friends, new beliefs, and new ways of life, all different from my own. I made friends with people with completely different lifestyles and belief systems than my own and experienced tremendous personal growth because of it. I had once been afraid of the influence of others; thinking I would no longer be me if I surround myself with people so...different. Little did I know at the time, they were a gift from God challenging me in ways I never realized I was weak, and helping me to find strength I never knew I had. Because of this, they are some of the most precious people in my life. Without their influence I would not be the person I am today, and for that I am grateful. The one most important thing I learned in college did not come from highly educated professors, but from numerous twenty-somethings on soul-searching missions of their own. They taught me how to love people. I don't mean how to make friends, or be happy, I mean truly love people-for who they are, not for how they fit into my life.
Up to this point I had always been a happy person with a good life, but college taught me how to enjoy it. The things I would remember wouldn't be how many times I made the dean's list, or the grade I got for that 10-page paper on the importance of being a 'reflective teacher.' The things I would remember was the time spent-good or bad ;)- with the people I love. From 'big easy' road trips to 'nuclear' birthdays, Saturdays in athens to nights downtown, and all the times in between, college was the 'best years of my life' to date. However, I hope that Bryan Adams was wrong. I'm a firm believer that 'life is what we make it' and with the knowledge gained over the past four years-not to mention a little help from a developed frontal lobe ;)- I think the 'best is yet to come.' Here's to life after the 'best days of my life'...

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