I'm into the second week of college, and feel surrounded by smart people. In my classes and in my residential hall (granted, I live in the honors dorms), with students and professors (especially professors), I can't escape the academic life. Sometimes I feel like I even need a translator from my professors to me (Great Texts, can I get an amen?!).
But I'm learning something aside from the academic sense of college.
Intelligence does not equal maturity.
Just because someone is smart, can answer every question in class and think of everything on a deep, philosophical level, does not make them mature. Likewise, even if you can't answer every little question or think on academically deep levels, it doesn't mean that you aren't mature.
Maturity does not come from knowledge. It does not come from taking classes or attending seminars. Maturity comes with life. It comes with time. That doesn't always mean that those who are older are always more mature. That may be true, as they have lived more life, but that's definitely not always the case.
College is a weird time where we shove everyone between the ages of 18 to 22 years old and categorize them all together. It's easy to think everyone is the same. It's easy to think they may be shallow and immature, yet we also sometimes think that everyone is intelligent and full of wisdom.
However, that is far from the truth. College is a time where we all recognize our differences and figure ourselves out. We realize how much more we have to learn. We find that we are all at different points in our lives, and furthermore, at contrasting maturity levels.
Maturity will come in different forms at different times in our lives. So to my freshman class, remember that it's okay if you're not mature yet. However, as college students, let's also remember that not every freshman (or every college student) is immature. Some of us have already had a life that has taught us to live and live well. Maturity comes with experience, not age, and age is still not a guarantee of maturity. Maturity is a choice.