Here I am – halfway through week one of an experience that will shape parts of the rest of my life. I believe in writing about these life-shaping experiences because, well, I’m a writer. Maybe you’ve been here, maybe you’re curious, or maybe you’re on the struggle bus right now with me. Either way, welcome aboard!
I had orientation last weekend and it was quite the adventure. I enjoyed meeting new people and my professors. I even enjoyed the brisk morning walks from building to building. I really did – until those walks became more brisk around the area of my shorts than I liked. I ignored it, got to my next room, and took a seat. “Umm,” I said to myself, “why is this seat so cold?” .. Then it hit me. The reason those brisk walks included freshman boys giggling behind me was because, you guessed it, I had a giant hole in my BLACK athletic shorts revealing my very loudly turquoise dog-printed undies. Oh, and if you didn’t notice, I’m pretty transparent. Welcome to my blog!
This morning, I got to school early. I felt on top of the world — no traffic, it’s an 11 o’clock class, and I was a half hour early. Booyah! It wasn’t until 10:57 that I began to realize I was foolish in showing up to park for a class at 11 this late. Turns out that the saying about the early birds is right! (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I only missed the first three minutes of class!)
This afternoon, I was going to treat myself to some Jimmy John’s. I left my well-earned parking spot to get some food. As I entered the highway (after getting lost twice), my phone pinged at me that there was free food at school. I only got lost twice getting back, and was able to catch the tail-end of free Qdoba nachos. (I dubbed them “snatchos” since all that was left was chips and salad leaves.)
You may be wondering why I am sharing with you three times I really messed up this week. (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only Wednesday.) It’s because after each of those encounters – which would have wrecked my day as a high school freshman – I laughed it off and kept moving on. (Okay, I didn’t laugh off being three minutes late to class.)
I hope when I remember my first week of college, I remember the small things – how excited I was to start doing homework again, the smell of new school supplies, the pure joy of tie-dying a shirt in the quad with a girl who came from a different country just to go to school here, and the happiness of jamming to Brad Paisley’s “The World” full-volume in rush hour. I would be sad to forget these small pieces of happy that made my heart flutter.
But mostly, I hope I remember how far I’ve come. (You may even call it a glow up.) I’ve practiced so much more patience for myself. I view bumps in the road as just that: road bumps. Not the end, not a closed road, and not as confidence-breakers. I am secure enough with myself not only to laugh at a minor incident like holy shorts, but also enough to share it with you all. How cool is that?
I really want to remember that at the forefront of my mind this week, I remember the pieces of happy. I didn’t rip myself apart for getting lost a few times. I looked at it as a learning experience – I am now a bit smarter about directions around here than I was. I didn’t see the hole in my shorts as a day breaker, I saw it more as entertainment to those around me. Which might be an odd way to see it, but I think when seeing my little incidence we all remember an embarrassing time and it makes us laugh.
Whether you’re starting a new job, new school year, or even a new experience, I hope that you give yourself grace and don’t get tripped up on the small things. It’s not worth your happy. Let it go, learn, and do what you can to make it better next time. I promise it’s okay to mess up a little bit.
Oh, and P.S. – if you’re looking for a song about this, check out “Life Keeps Moving On” by Ben Rector.