“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” —Marina Keegan
One day, I’ll keep promises. I’ll keep my promise to post to TR every day, to give it my full love & attention, but for now, I’m enjoying what has been the most exciting year yet. Brown. Yes, there were moments when I missed TR and writing and being able to purge my thoughts out to this blog, but I think for once it felt good to experience moments rather than obsessively worry about how to portray them for you, my lovely readers.
But today, I’m back after months and, hopefully, here to stay for a bit. It’s May. Freshman year of college is over. I’m a bit awestruck, a bit exhausted, a bit curious and anxious as to what the future will bring. Brown, thus far, has not been easy. There have been moments when I have wanted to give it all up, come back home, pretend like I didn’t have a future to worry about. But what pulled my mind and spirit back each time was the people who have integrated themselves tightly into my life within these past few months, as well as the people who always been tied in some way. The minute I landed at Brown, I knew I would be intimidated by those around me. I still am today. And to be honest, I probably will be forever. The students at Brown are undoubtedly overachievers, but they’re fun. They’re passionate and loving and quirky in ways that I could never have imagined. They’ve taught me to ask questions and prod and never be quite content with the world around us. It’s oftentimes frustrating, but it teaches you to notice, to do rather than talk, to be stubborn when stubbornness is necessary.
In my last post, I wrote about Marina Keegan and the Opposite of Loneliness. I’m not at Yale. I’m not a senior. But it feels like her words are beginning to settle in and make sense. We’re so young. We’re so young, she wrote. And we are. And it feels, at times, like the littlest actions of destiny can make the world around us crumble, but we’re so young that we can build it back up in minutes. If Brown has taught me anything, it’s that paths are never pre-destined, pre-formed. There’s no perfect path or way of being. Am I different? Maybe. But to be thrown into a new place like Brown, where the most nuanced of personalities, opinions, and life experiences all merge to create a community—how can you not change? I’ve taken in people and stories and learned that to be honest, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I want to do. For high school me, this would have been absolutely unfathomable, but I think I’m coming to terms with this idea of letting myself take steps rather than leaps. I want to build piece by piece and just take it in. Nothing is permanent.
There are nights at Brown when I’m walking through the main green, and I stop for a moment to take it all in. Sayles stands in one corner majestically. In the distance is Faunce Arch. It’s nearly silent. Peaceful, almost. Yet, I know that inside the walls of the buildings are students who are not quite at peace—freaking out about some paper or exam or project. That’ll be me in a few moments. But somewhere else, someone is also smiling, laughing, feeling utterly at home. Because that’s what Brown has become. On those nights of serenity and those long walks to my distant dorm, Brown is home in some form. It’s not where I’ve grown up or where my family is, but it’s become this place that I’ve learned and molded myself to. A place that was once such a dream and has now become such a reality. The first place I can call my own by choice. I’ve learned its serpentine streets perfectly, mingled with friends in each of its nearby cafes, stayed up endless nights in its dorms gabbing about life and politics and love and all these abstract things that I couldn’t have imagined without having come here.
For the moment, that feels more compelling and more significant to me than planning my future. That’ll come on its own.
With love, B