Change is a Beautiful, Terrifying Thing

Each year I return to Hollins, I feel it.

The changes, small or large that have occurred, whether inside myself or around campus.

Senior year has been a whole new ballgame when it comes to change. I mean, woah.

Maybe noticing these changes is simply an after-effect from studying abroad for a whole year. Before I left, I at least thought I had a handle on recognizing everyone around campus by face. Now…  It seems like 75% of the faces I scan everyday are strangers. Yet with that unsettled reaction to not knowing so many people, comes a calming sense of, that’s okay – I don’t have to feel obligated to meet every single one of them. I’ll be gone in a few months.

Yikes.

Improvements and renovations around campus jolt me just as much as the changing faces. Walking into Moody dining hall and seeing the natural light play across all the HU merchandise in the bookstore’s new upstairs location sets my sense of “Wait, where am I?” just a little off.

Even the paving of walkways (figuratively) trips me up.  I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how much of my sensory memory exists in the steps I take around campus. Even when I’m thrown off slightly by new blacktop where I pick up my pizza delivery in the minutes before midnight.

To top it all off, I’ve changed.

I don’t know when exactly it happened, or if I’m even not simply right in the middle of changing, this very second. Thinking about life’s changes is all too common for me now. I’m not just deciding what to have for lunch; I’m deciding how to live my life after Hollins.

Maybe students don’t recognize the beauty of a place like Hollins until change starts to show itself. Changing perspectives, shifting priorities, evolving friendships, transforming responsibilities, growing hearts. All of that happens at Hollins. If you don’t feel it now I can promise you – you will.

That’s why change is beautiful and terrifying. Like a really breathtaking landscape rolled out before you, as though looking at it feels all at once like the most glorious sense of the blessings of life, and the scary realizations that you are one small piece in a much larger puzzle. And guess what? You aren’t putting that puzzle together.

Senior year feels like that.

A change so amazing, yet nerve-wracking that you just feel like you’re along for the ride.

My favorite school motto is “Women Who Are Going Places Start at Hollins.”

What they don’t tell you is that you start to go as soon as you feel the change in the air.

For me? That was the first week of senior year.

Faced with a workload that is simultaneously overwhelming and electrifying, I finish each day out of breath and feeling like I’m glowing with all this energy coursing through my insides. As a student, I am definitely one that thrives on how tight their schedule is. I’m sure it aids some false sense of importance I’m harboring, but that can be another topic for another time.

For now, I am in a love affair with my planner, and hopefully changing for the better.

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