Time is weird. It seems so slow while you live through it, but then, when you look back, it's like you blinked and years passed. I still don't understand how that happens. My most recent experience with this has been packing my bags to move back to college. I'm about to start my third year and I'm so not ready for it — not because I don't want to go back to school, but because I don't want to be a third year.
I love UVA. I love Grounds. I love basketball games and late night Cookout runs with my friends and the way the library smells and curling up in the window seats in the building where I have most of my classes on a rainy day. I love living with seven of my best friends and having more live just across the street. I love my church and my classes and the city itself. The more I think about the fact that I'm halfway done with this experience, the more I realize that I'm not ready for it to end. Sure, better things are probably coming, but I'm not sure I'm going to be prepared to leave my second home when the time comes.
All of a sudden, I'm flooded with panicky questions: what do I want to do with my life? Where do I want to live after graduation? Do I want to try and go to graduate school? Should I stay at UVA an extra year and get my masters? What am I going to do? Because, unfortunately for me, I'm no longer a second year thinking to myself "heck, those are questions for third years to worry about." Instead, I'm a third year thinking "HECK. Those are things I need to be worrying about." And I'm stressed out.
"Adult-y" questions are now something I have to deal with too. What kind of job do I want? What do I need to be doing now to prepare myself? Should I have taken on an internship this summer? Should I be getting a college job so that I have some money saved up for when I do graduate and go to real life? All of these things and more take over my thoughts when I'm not paying attention.
And then, the biggest issue of all, several of my friends are going into their last year of college and I'm just over here wondering "how am I going to do this without them? How can I not live with them anymore, these people who have been my second family?"
I'm sad to be going into my third year. I know that big things, good things are ahead of me, but I have some pretty good things right now. It seems bizarre to me that when I tell my kids "when I was in college" stories, I'll be telling them about right now, about this time that is slipping away so fast in a haze of happy memories and schoolwork. So this year, on top of doing my work diligently and hanging out with friends frequently, I'm going to remind myself to savor the little quiet moments that don't mean a lot until you look back on them — when my favorite tree on Grounds turns orange in the fall, or the rain makes my window seat the perfect amount of cozy, or our friend squad decides to have an impromptu s'mores night — because going to my third year has made me realize that those moments are some of the most important and that, while they come frequently, they go quickly.