For the last week all I did was sit around my house, half heartedly writing internship applications and reading a couple books on Batman (I’ll probably have a post on that book collection come March, don’t fret), wishing that I was back at school—being back in the swing of the hubbub, always having something to do, enjoying life. But last night when I got off the shuttle and walked through the SUB towards my house, I was completely underwhelmed with a sense of separation. Suddenly I was nostalgic for the biting Minnesota winter that I had just left.
It’s easy to be overly nostalgic (on the verge of restlessness), especially around the idea of home.
For those of us just going in to/getting out of/in the middle of college, this seems to be a pretty consistent theme. For the first year or two of school many students treat their college more as a residency and their home as their home base, clinging to the melancholy distance they’ve established for themselves. My coping mechanism was being obsessed with Minnesota (and rightfully so, it’s the greatest place ever established by living organisms—insert Minnesota Club plug here).
In my (somewhat limited) experience, people seem to let go of their “home base” mentality around two-three years in, identifying more with Tacoma, or Washington, or UPS specifically. Within that is two phases—the “new home” stage and the “been-there-done-that” stage. The first is filled with fulfillment and contentment that climbs and climbs—an established community, an understanding of/identifying with the area, and a sense of present-ness, relishing in every moment. But suddenly the climb topples over the cliff and hits a bottom—we feel like we’ve done what we wanted and crave something different.
That’s where I’m at. I’ve found myself romanticizing anything that I’m not doing and not being quite present. It’s not a discontent but rather a yearning: for what, though, I don’t know. For this reason I don’t think it’s an accident that junior year is mainly when students choose to go abroad (besides credits and stuff.).
Maybe it’s just me (and the friends I’ve talked about it with), and that’s fine. A plus side of this stage in my college experience is that I’ve more deeply invested myself in my studies and spent more time with people.
In fact this could explain the blog post that I wrote (and didn’t post) four months ago entitled “Communities (#SixSeasonsAndAMovie).” In that post I talked about finding/making friends in unlikely places and putting forth the effort to actually cultivate those friendships (pursue those friend-crushes!!), challenging yourself to do radically new things, and making the most of time in this unique time of our lives (as if I’m one to speak).
This semester I resolve to break the confines of nostalgia and expand my horizons. Nostalgia has its place, and that’s reflecting on the past—not my present.
So consider this not a “blog post to see what Ian’s doing” so much as a reflection as we move in to the semester.
I’ll end with the rambling first section of that long never-posted blog post (it’s a bit dated, so bear with me) and I’ll talk to you soon. If you see me around make sure to bother me about updating this more, please and thank you. Until then—to quote a certain Politics professor—party on scholars.
Three weeks ago I began training with my fellow Leaders for Passages, the outdoors portion of Puget Sound’s Orientation program (not to be confused with PSO, Puget Sound Outdoors). As we sat for the first of many times in a circle in the rofunda (yes, it’s called that. Let noone else tell you differently. Ever.) I looked around to find that I only knew about fifteen or so people in the circle —out of 60. In that Aaron Pomerantz moment I felt out of my comfort zone; as if all of a sudden being with people wasn’t easy. There was a lot of awkward small talk and a far too many vague emotionless descriptions of my summer. At the same time that I dreaded this, though, it excited me. I was somewhere I haven’t been in a while; out of my element. I want to meet new people, see faces I’ve never seen, learn about myself, and also learn about something new.
A man who I greatly admire, Mr. Moeseph Stephens, gave some Moe-st excellent advice at the end of Passages. Relationships, he said (or at least what I remember of it, we were very tired when he gave this speech), aren’t as easy as just showing up. Friendships and relationships of any sort take more than just happenstance encounters; they take real investments of energy and effort. But that kind of effort doesn’t need to be big or grand gestures. His example: make eye contact with the person and say “good morning.”
So to you all, dear readers, I say good morning. I hope to see you in unexpected places soon.