I Absolutely Refuse To Let College Claim The Title, “The Best Years Of My Life”

Hello, faithful followers. My school year has begun and it promises to be a rewarding one. My concerns about being a distantly off-campus senior are long gone. In fact, when I am on campus in the evening, I find it incredibly strange to think that people live here all the time. There are activities late into the night. I thought I might feel that I am missing out, but instead, I have been struck by the absurdity of college on-campus life. I can’t believe I have spent the past three years of my life in this manner.

Who dreamed up this model? Who thought, hey, here’s a thought, let’s create this phase called adolescence where students think of only themselves and improving themselves for 13 years. Actually, make that 17, or more. Then someone else thought of Whitworth. Let’s create a place that is focused on building a community completely separated from the city of Spokane, where students have five to ten options for things to do on campus every single night. And if they don’t feel like doing those things, they can do live action role-playing in the loop, or sit around and give one another backrubs. It’s fun trust me. You don’t have to make friends at Whitworth, they are given to you. In fact, you have to run away from them or you will have far too many relationships to keep up with. Who does homework? My first year here, I didn’t do much.

That life was great for me as a freshman. I was dipping my toes into a new world and I needed friends. I didn’t have what it takes to build my own community at that point, but I will not let it stop me from learning. Whitworth has been an amazing induction into the beginning of my adult life. But I refuse to stay there. I don’t want to leave Whitworth still hungry for more endless fun and mandatory “community.” Please don’t take this as dissing on Whitworth. This place has made me, but I can’t stay here. None of us can stay here.

I am intentionally becoming the kind of person that will build a Christ-centered community around myself no matter where I go—one with the boldness to meet her neighbors with whom she may have very little in common.

I spent two years in love with a college campus, a dorm community. And I choose to spend my last two years here (last year, and the present one) in love with a city. Having a car helps, but my Roomie, Emilie is carless and commutes via bus (or—when I can get up at five to take her to work—via my car).

Now, I desperately need to write a paper that is due at three, but I hope to expand upon this theme: learning to love individuals—a campus, a neighborhood, a city. How can we address every life situation with the love of Christ? How do we know when we should alter our life situation to follow a calling and force ourselves to grow into the adults we want to become? This is what I am wrestling with. Wrestle with me?

I encourage you to share your stories (comment). How are you stretching yourself to become the person you hope to grow into?

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About Jacquelyn Barnes

Former English Literature and Writing major at Whitworth University. Spanish Language minor. Browne's Addition Resident. Editorial Assistant at Gray Dog Press. Interested in postcolonial, multicultural, and feminist theories. Former ski racer. Longboarder. Runner. Member of Vintage Faith Community Church (we have no building). Painter. Morning person. View all posts by Jacquelyn Barnes

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