Stuck In Limbo
To the Editor:
I am in limbo, stuck between two worlds, between people and parts of life that I thought would have distinct boundaries separating them, like acts in a play. Not fully a high schooler, not fully a college student, as I will be taking my first semester of classes in college from my childhood home. My high school class was robbed of a chance to graduate naturally, and now we have to move into a completely different part of our lives through a screen. Online orientations and seminars are commendable attempts at getting us acclimated to our “new” lives, but I’m sure many of my peers would agree that they often fall short.
I know this sounds dramatic, like the whimperings of a scared kid who is just learning that the world is unpredictable. But what I am learning isn’t about the world, but about how we grow. The analogy to life being like a play offers structure and way in which to fathom how one changes from a stupid teenager to a somewhat competent grown person to finally an adult. The conventional thought is that we are moving towards another designated spot that forces us to become a different person.
But what I am now learning is that it isn’t the stage that changes us. At the end of adolescence, everyone wishes that they could stay a kid forever, and it sounds like a good idea. That is, until you are actually faced with the reality of it. It looks like I am going to stay in this childlike state for longer than I thought, and it is making me want to put my fist through a wall.
But what makes this frustration confusing is that I was scared about the next step. I had been dealing with anxiety about college for months. I should feel better now, right? All of my classes in the comfort of my home, through Zoom and online submissions. None of the worries about living alone in a new environment are even relevant even more. So why don’t I feel better?
It is because you do not move towards a stage, you move towards you. This process of growth happens anywhere. It just happens to be a lot easier when you are able to gain independence along a predetermined path. But even if a pandemic destroys that path, that part of you that is hungry for the next step will come. It will desperately claw to the forefront of who you are, and it will dwarf the child inside of you.
My fellow students and I are in uncharted territory, trying to adjust to a new normal that is constantly changing underneath us. To those of us who are still going off to college, be safe and good luck. And to my fellow students stuck in this gray area of life, let’s remind ourselves that when it feels like the world is shrinking on us, it’s not. We are just growing.
1 Dylan Drive, Newtown August 17, 2020