By Madi Allen
A few days ago, while eating lunch in the sub, I heard “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, and I was immediately taken back to my childhood.
This was a song that was played throughout my house when I was growing up, a favorite song of both of my parents. I have many memories tied to it — hide-and-go-seek with my older brother, playing dress-up in my mom’s closet and riding in the back seat of my dad’s pick-up truck, all pieces that add up to my childhood.
As soon as I heard the familiar tune, I was overwhelmed with a sense of melancholia and excitement. Melancholia for the past, for the days of childhood, when I could be free from responsibility and worry. But excitement for the future came soon after, for as soon as I was taken back to memories of my childhood, I was able to see how far I had come.
I came to Baylor two years ago, fresh faced and ready to get a taste of the real world. Even though the night my parents dropped me off I sobbed as they pulled away from Collins, not exactly sure if I could do it.
I had never been away from my parents for more than the two weeks every summer when I attended Panfork Summer Camp for girls, and here I was putting more than 450 miles between us.
College is the first time that many of us break away from home in search of newfound independence and self-discovery. This theme is popular in novels and movies, with a glamorous point of view and an attractive counterpart to make it all worth it. But reality is a little different. College can be hard, exhausting and trying.
This is the first time in our lives when we are away from mom and dad and get our first taste of reality, like debating whether or not to splurge the extra $2 for our favorite shampoo at HEB. In these moments, I find myself wishing for the carefree nature of childhood, the abandonment of responsibility.
I once had a friend tell me that she felt as if she was mourning her childhood during her freshman year of school. Only being a senior in high school at the time, I couldn’t understand what she meant. Now I couldn’t agree with her more.
This stage in our lives can be pretty awkward — we are figuring out who we are supposed to be. We are told to pick a major that will serve us for the rest of our lives, when have been “adults” for about two minutes. We are meeting people who will affect us for the rest of our lives, in good and bad ways, and forming habits that will become character traits.
In hard moments when I’m sleep deprived, stressed and anxious about the three tests I have next week, I often long for the days of playing dress-up and coloring, a time when my biggest concern was if my plastic heels matched my princess dress.
Even though being a child was magical, I think being 20 is also pretty magical. Like sitting at What-a-burger at two in the morning with my best friends, nothing makes me happier, and the $2 I saved at HEB was just spent on French fries.
College is a time to be celebrated, to decide who we want to be. So in the long hours of studying and stress, remember the moments of freedom and this gift we are given to decide our future and chase our dreams.
So I urge you to remember the little kid in you, on your journey to becoming who you are, don’t forget who you were. Dare to dream for the little kid who once dreamt you would be here.
As much anxiety as being 20 gives me, it excites me even more. I’ve never felt more insecure or more confident, confused about my future or passionate about my dreams. As Ron Burgundy put it, “I’m in a glass case of emotion.” College can be a constant paradox of self-discovery and self-doubt. But that’s what makes it so special- it’s full of lessons and apprehension and memories — good and bad.
As much as I hate to say it, Taylor Swift got it right, “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.”
Madi Allen is a sophomore journalism major from Fritch. She is a reporter for The Lariat.