The last Saturday of first semester my roommates and I and a few of our friends had what in college are called juries. They are for music majors and other students taking music lessons, and all things considered, they are your final exam for your music lessons. You sing or play in front of some of the music faculty and they give you feedback and a letter grade. These juries eventually determine whether or not you are able to continue as a music major.
Obviously, we all wanted to do really well on our juries. We’d practiced hard. We knew our pieces. We were trying not to psych ourselves out.
Never fear, we all performed really well. But you can bet that after those six minutes we over, we didn’t do anything important for the rest of the day. In fact, we went for the traditional late night McDonald’s and Wal-Mart run (we were craving some milkshakes) and ended up going for a lengthy drive in the dark and fog, jamming out to some popular tunes and Christmas diddies a like.
As I sat in the back seat while we drove up this hill, I thought to myself: really, these are some of the best moments of college. These times when we just drive because we can. Because we want to. And no one is stopping us. We really, truly are free. And it occurred to me how much I’d mellowed since high school. I’d never have let myself do something as simple and liberating as this in high school. I felt too bound to a group of friends who wouldn’t approve and to being a good, Catholic high school girl and to my family who I felt would look down on me for it or talk me out of it. And in high school, I would’ve been insanely nervous earlier that day before my jury compared to the small nerves that came to me whenever I was unable to maturely distract myself. I’d mellowed.
Soon enough we came around a bend alongside the campground in our town, and the whole thing was decorated in Christmas lights. Tons of them. It was a beautiful sight. I felt like the Grinch looking down on Whoville from the top of Mount Crumpit. And from my seat in the back of the car, I enjoyed them, smiling to myself, because I’d won a battle. I’d taught myself how to roll with the punches.
My grandpa has always been a “Don’t cry over spilled milk” type guy, and it really wasn’t until college that I’d finally become one too. Sometimes I slip up and go back to freaking out like I used to, but I’ve gotten pretty good at calming myself down and reminding myself that my life isn’t going to be perfect and that everything happens for a reason. So far in college, I consider this to be one of my biggest accomplishments. Even when I’m stressed out now, it’s much less so than when I would get stressed out in high school. And I’m so much happier for it!
I feel like I’ve really learned a life lesson here. And honestly, as much as college is about hitting the books to get the education in the field you want to work in, it’s just as much, if not more so, about learning life lessons that will serve you in your daily musings and your relationships with other people. I learned a lot first semester, both in my classes and about myself, but if there’s one thing I’m glad of, it’s that I’ve mellowed.