My year begins with the school year. Even when I lived in D.C. and no one in my home went to school, the school year was how I organized time. The beginning of school represents a fresh start. The beginning of school means new clothes and unopened packages of pencils and crisp stacks of paper. The beginning of school represents opportunity - the opportunity to learn something life-changing, to succeed at something new, to finally do things right.
I love everything about it because I love everything about school. Elementary school was fun. Middle school was hilarious. High school was dramatic, but COLLEGE was the best four years of my life.
|That girl on the left has NOT a care in the world.|
The guy on the right is now a PROFESSOR,
which makes the girl on the left feel very old indeed.
I know I shouldn’t say that. I truly do love my life now. I have the most amazing husband and the most adorable children and the coolest jobs. But you know what husbands and children and jobs are most of the time? WORK. You know what isn’t WORK?
College is just enough structure and just enough freedom to be the best. thing. EVER. Even the start of school at college is better. My favorite day in the world is Syllabus Day - the first day of class when the professor hands out the syllabus, goes over it quickly, and lets every one go. No homework. No preparation. Just a crisp sheet of paper that tells you everything you’re going to learn over the next few months. Nothing is late yet. You haven’t procrastinated. Everything seems so achievable.
I celebrated many a Syllabus Day during my four years at Transylvania. I decided to go to Transy because my high school boyfriend was in Lexington and I didn’t want to go to UK. The worst decision-making that luckily led to the best decision of my life. When I look back on my life, my four years at Transylvania were the most transformative.
I learned how to be a good friend. I learned how to be a good liberal. I learned how to write and think and debate. I met my husband, my dearest friends, and mentors that single-handedly changed the course of my life.
The best part? All that changing and learning and transforming was so much dang fun. Sure, there was drama. That high school boyfriend cheated on me with a sorority sister. I did not graduate with all the dear friends I had made freshman year due to conflicts and miscommunications. I still vividly remember the torture of writing ONE MORE political philosophy essay for Dr. Dugi after Spring Break. At the time, it seemed like the most difficult task in the entire world.
Of course, it wasn’t. I knew deep down it wasn’t. By graduation, I already knew how special my time at Transylvania had been. Others whined and complained. They couldn’t graduate fast enough. Not me. I knew this time was special and I didn’t want it to end.
At graduation, underneath those seemingly perfect cherry trees, I cried like a baby. Sure, I cried for the friends I was leaving and the mentors I was hugging one last time. However, I knew I’d see and talk to all of them again. I cried the hardest for Transylvania and those incredibly special four years I knew I would never get back.
I cried that May because come September I knew another school year would start at Transylvania ... and I would not be there.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland