It's interesting to me, especially because I am a student at a Christian University, just how many walls are all around us. I feel like my end goal here is to get to the end of the corn maze. What is my prize? A letter grade, a free frozen yogurt voucher, a buy one, get one carton of McDonald's chicken nuggets courtesy of a monopoly sticker? Give me a break. Everywhere I look, I swear! Someone turns their head, looks down at the dirt in the seemingly-never-ending cracked pavement, or is far too focused on their own path to step on the other side once and awhile. I laugh under my breath as I watch the freshman attempt to pick up quarters that some twats who probably graduated ten years ago glued to the ground. The corn maze is too narrow for two people to walk through it side by side, have you noticed this? I hate it.
The morning is chaos. A small bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos is resting peacefully on the kitchen table before it's swept off in a blur ten minutes before the beginnings of an 8 am on West. Good enough.
"Anne, throw me my keys!" *Tosses keys across the living room from the bathroom. They hit the carpet in the kitchen as I am standing at the doorway with my arm stretched out wide.*
"Do you have your Student I.D.?"
"Frick. I think it's in my car."
"Emily! This isn't Africa anymore..."
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F01%2F17%2F636202613699817184-810325448_giphy%2520%2819%29.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=14&h=1316f02b84774f1c940980d0716a3c7e29856ff93a440ff50c6269d898e261c7&size=980x&c=1894166626 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F01%252F17%252F636202613699817184-810325448_giphy%252520%252819%2529.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D14%26h%3D1316f02b84774f1c940980d0716a3c7e29856ff93a440ff50c6269d898e261c7%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1894166626%22%7D" expand=1]
Afternoons are okay. Classes are overwhelming. Professors mumble due dates and their Expo markers always run out of ink and you always refill your water bottle more than the average person.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F01%2F17%2F636202614018631887-1967272649_source.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=897&h=5ddb90cb00b9f62a46979797e5ab0c2d18764c9b5d2c953e3c918aca5e52b855&size=980x&c=1329062281 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F01%252F17%252F636202614018631887-1967272649_source.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D897%26h%3D5ddb90cb00b9f62a46979797e5ab0c2d18764c9b5d2c953e3c918aca5e52b855%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1329062281%22%7D" expand=1]
The athletes in the front row have their composition books and chewed up no. 2 pencils scattered across the table. Sally and all her friends are in the second row. Their North Face backpacks are strapped across the back of the swivel-chairs and their Hydro Flasks covered in RedBubble stickers are evenly spaced out, one by one. Sally takes notes on her laptop, Lucy uses Vera Bradley, spiral-bound notebooks and Lacey makes her own notebooks by peeling tree bark off the pine trees by the turtle pond on East and collects twine from hipster clothing stores' packing to bind them together. That kid who has no friends always sits on the far side of the classroom. You know those tables that are all by themselves and turned to the side a little? You know the ones. You feel bad for him. You offer him your textbook to read off, but he looks back at his DS under the table to try and hit the next level before class ends.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F01%2F17%2F636202616044388792-1408910982_giphy%2520%2820%29.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=103&h=4999cb7c70105272e7544afedd39661a5998f845784207f797be56714bbcfd52&size=980x&c=2531404390 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F01%252F17%252F636202616044388792-1408910982_giphy%252520%252820%2529.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D103%26h%3D4999cb7c70105272e7544afedd39661a5998f845784207f797be56714bbcfd52%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2531404390%22%7D" expand=1]
Evenings are pretty packed, too. D-group starts in an hour and you haven't finished the first part of your exegetical yet. It's due tonight at 11:59pm but you just realized you have to go to chapel tonight or else you're going to get an absence this week!
"Anne I have to go to chapel in like, five minutes!"
"Okay, me too! We'll go together!"
"But I have homework...and I haven't eaten dinner yet!
"We'll get back in time, don't worry. There's Flamin' Hot Cheetos on the counter!"
The next day is just the same. Running all over the place trying to make your way to the end of your corn maze. It gets redundant, but working hard provides an adrenaline rush unlike any other. Accomplishing a goal after a hard week of balancing schedules and getting through the day is all it takes to give you fuel for the next day, the day after that, and the rest of your college career. Tell me you aren't in this state, go ahead! But even if you're not here now, you have been, or it will soon approach your life faster than you're ready for.
What seems to be a reoccurring theme in this stage of life, is the constant focus on oneself. It's so easy for us college kids to get caught up in our own path, without taking the time to listen to someone else's story, or help someone else out of a dark time. The Bible tells us that it is absolutely crucial to look at our neighbors' needs before our own.
"Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
Take a step on the other side of the corn maze, widen the path so you can walk alongside one another in times of chaos and complete craziness! Join forces and become stronger together, it's more rewarding to go through life's ups and downs together, instead of feeling alone in your crisis. Seek God together, help those who need a hand in understanding that they don't have to go through it all by themselves. Take joy in the little things, relive happy memories and widen the path so that others can take part. If you make your college career all about yourself, you're missing the greatest part about being a part of a community of your own kind in this very special stage of life. Being a friend to confide in and a source of kindness and grace for those you love (and those you don't) is more rewarding than you think. Build each other up and take that step on the other side of the corn maze. It doesn't have to be a narrow path, ya know.