College Couldn't Have Been The Same Without My Familiars - MGOCSM Newsletter
By Ponnu Varghese-John
College is often seen as a time to try new things, pave a new identity and path in life, all while abandoning what is familiar to us. As we enter college our priorities and expectations of what is to come are sometimes skewed by what others and the media have portrayed as the ideal. This “ideal” is advertised as being one that all students alike are to strive for and attain, one that may not necessarily be right for everyone across the board. And what is this familiar that we try so hard to rid ourselves of, our families, our churches, our clergy, our communities and hometowns? These things that were once so comforting to us are suddenly seen as all that is inherently wrong in our lives. What causes this switch? Is the familiar what is wrong in our lives or is there something greater that we fear?
Going into college I too had these expectations of how my world was going to change for the better and my mind, blown. College would be my time to shine, during which all my questions regarding life and where I was headed would be answered. If only it were that simple. I was set on accomplishing all my goals, some set forth by myself, and others, by my parents. Regardless, this was what I was meant to do. Or so I thought. The quest for the all-fulfilling life changing experience began; after all, it was supposed to happen in college.
One thing that I quickly learned was that whether I am 18, or 25, or probably even when I’m 50, I am nothing without my familiars. My familiars are what ground me. My familiars are all that I have ever known and what will always be constant in my life. My familiars are my family, my church, my clergy, and my community. In turn, they are my identity. In attempting to steer clear of the familiar, in search of this hypothetical awesomeness, we lose so much of ourselves. Our familiars provide us with our sense of identity, which does not necessarily close us off from new experiences. The unconditional love and support of these persons and resources are the solid foundation we all need. Especially in the event that we fall during our climb toward individuality, careers, and new, exciting experiences; after all, support yields success.
College should and will be a time for discovery, learning your likes and dislikes, ceasing opportunities and meeting interesting people. However, abandoning your life, as you had known prior to, is not a hindrance to the new and unknown. Our community has so many underutilized resources that are constantly growing. Our culture, although daunting at times, is so rich in values and traditions.I continually find that the key to maintaining my identity in full, by embracing the familiar old and the exciting new is balance. College is not the one single defining experience in any individual’s life. College is one among the many things that I have undergone, but it does not define me. My faith in God and the solace provided by prayer in times of doubt and anguish and in times of happiness alike are what helped me find the balance I needed. My expectations and plans were just that, plans and expectations. God has a greater plan for you and I. Our experiences, prayers, and the people we surround ourselves with are what help us uncover what that plan is. But this plan will only be revealed to us through trust in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
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