As I moved onto my college campus for the first time, I was under siege of a mix of emotions and a million Camp Freshman (I mean, Orientation) activities. Before my parents left me for the three-week separation (they’ll be back for Family Weekend toward the end of September) we had to attend an opening Welcome session. At this session, some upperclassmen got up onstage to welcome us. They were all very happy we were there and excited to share everything about the college way. A senior got up and said this:
Going to college is like driving a car. You have a windshield and rear-view mirrors. Both are equally important, but you should spend much more time looking out of one than the other. If you spend too much time looking back through your rear-view mirrors, you’re going to crash. You should take looks back at your past, but not so often that you crash because you’re missing what’s right in front of you.
As I sat there in the auditorium with a million (okay, not actually that many, but it sure felt like it!) other students wearing the same shirt as me and their parents, friends, and siblings, I thought, not only was that an incredibly accurate and insightful metaphor, but that’s not just like college: it’s just like life too!
And this is a lesson that I’ve personally had to learn, and not exactly in the easiest way. It has taken me years to figure out that holding onto the past only hinders your future. Hearing that, more artfully stated, on my first day at college was a nice little reminder of the promise I have made to myself to drive properly. Looking through the windshield, and glancing back through those rear-view mirrors when needed.
And that, my friends, is how to properly drive a car.