Sunday, May 06, 2007

Notes from my perch on the eve of final exams week

In one week, I will be home and done with a year of college. In two weeks, I will be in New York and starting a whole new adventure.

This is supposed to evoke feelings of excitement.

I'm ready to leave, but not ready for eight weeks of service. Mostly, I am worried about missing things. I knew some things would have to be missed: my brother's twelfth birthday, my pastor's fortieth anniversary of being a priest, and the ordination of my favorite seminarian. Now I'm also missing the last Gold Award ceremony for my circle of Girl Scout friends and a weekend in Charleston with high school friends.

Blasted Facebook. The invites will continue to come in for events. Pictures will be posted from things I never even knew were happening.

I have a jealousy problem. I know this. Being left out, then finding out about it later, always hurts. Facebook is excellent at showing me, as soon as I log in, photos of my friends out together. Inevitably, I end up questioning my priorities. If I had gone to more club meetings instead of studying, would they have invited me? What if I had been more present instead of needing to leave to go to bed on time? Have I been too preoccupied? It's hopeless, really, and kind of absurd. Facebook photos are going to cause me to slowly die from stress.

Fortunately, I will limit my online time this summer as much as possible. The way to reach me will be through the house's phone if it's urgent, or letters if it's not. Cell phone voicemail and email will be checked max of once a week. I'm looking forward to the freedom. I just hope it won't be too lonely.


  1. If I really am feeling it would have been better to make the other choice, next time when something like it comes around, I'll choose the other road.

    Sounded like you were pretty busy with extra curriculars from here.

    New York! How exciting!!! Letters - snail mail...that'll be different, but an opportunity!
    Congratualtions on the first year! I'm so proud of you.

  2. Maybe you didn't want me to read this, so I'm sorry if that's the case. I certainly understand you wanting space--a chance to experience on your own, without expectations from someone else's experience. But I think I know what you mean.

    I understand the jealously of feeling left out, of wanting everything at once. I sacrificed much social life for the sake of other involvements this year, and I don't really regret it...but I do recognize the way I allowed myself less freedom than my friends have. Last summer, I definitely missed my lake swims and hanging out with my best friend's family (the extent of my home social life!).

    First, I admire your stringency on communication at Bethany. I was similar I guess. I never talk to anyone on the phone but my parents anyway, but I only had limited email correspondence with friends. If you receive good emails from good friends, don't feel guilty about responding. If you're corresponding with GLo (congrats on the research!), by all means do so! But I don't think you'll have to worry too much about the distractions.

    All relationships take time to build. But you'll be surrounded by open, chatty, funny, crazy, kind people. They'll help! It's interesting how much of personal growth is about breaking out of boxes. As much as I'm excited about my summer, I'm absolutely terrified to teach two classes of people my age. That will stretch me. But it's good to be stretched.

    Probably none of this makes sense, but if I could offer any advice, it's only this: don't criticize yourself. Don't feel guilty if you sit in the house in Rochester and miss things in Atlanta. That's normal. Don't be disappointed with yourself if you feel uncomfortable around people and long to escape. Normal feelings, don't judge or fight them. Don't try to force yourself into a set emotional place. What's supposed to come will come. You'll be great.