I managed to quote Teddy in my final senior seminar journal. Life is complete.
The senior seminar presentations have been my favorite part of all of my classes. Every story that someone has told I relate to in some way. It has only been since spring break that I have had my anxiety down to a functioning level. Julie talked about wanting to have her face show her laughter like her mother’s. I used to intentionally smile while sitting neutrally in hopes that I would not have ‘frown lines’ like my Grandma. I filled out applications to transfer and doubted whether or not I belonged. My life was made clearer when I studied abroad/off-campus.
We all search for our role and our place to belong. We identify with sports, Greek life, volunteer groups, artistic ventures, and religious organizations, but during the times of less confidence it is hard to remember that we are not alone. In “The Sparrow” every person had his/her own role and was happiest fulfilling it. What happens when the role or the group we identify with disappears? If I am a runner and I have a permanent arch problem that prohibits me from running, what am I?
In the past two years I have continually moved from location to location and have had to redefine what my job was in each environment. Looking back I realize that once I was comfortable I tended to fulfill the same role as the time before, but in an attempt to try out new identities I had to try new things. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter if I am in London or Cleveland I do not have fun in crowded clubs, but I do love game nights and laying on the floor talking about what matters, confessing, and laughing until the wee hours of the morning. Some things change and I am willing to try new things, but Teddy Pendergrass knew: “You can’t hide from yourself…”
Listening to Evan’s introduction I began to think more about how location affects identity. When we moved forty-five minutes away from all of my friends the summer before third grade I cried continuously. At the time I had no idea how the move was affecting my parents, sister (going into 7th grade), and brother (going into 9th grade). I felt incredibly alone and now I know my siblings did as well. I would not expect my eight year old self to have the same self-awareness that my twenty-one year-old self strives for, but this does make me realize that perhaps, when I feel most alone, I am not alone at all… I just have my eyes closed.
In just over two weeks we will leave Holland, MI and many of us will never come back; I don’t have a reason to return in the near future. Wherever I go next I hope to stay secure in myself, while remaining open to change and growth. I do not have a defined career role: Anne, the doctor or Emilio, the Jesuit Priest; I will have to find other things to identify with. I have been following Socrates’ path and have made an active effort to know myself. I have carried the words that my high school psychology teacher wrote on the board on the last day of classes for four years now. I have had to rewrite them a couple of times due to paper life, but I think I will keep his instructions as my plan:
Today I will…
•Laugh out loud
•Spend some time in thought
•Have my emotions moved
•Choose to make the best
•Learn something new about my world
•Take care of myself
•Know more about me
•Give to someone
•Grow as a person
Believe in yourself.
Goodbye, Good Luck, God Bless.