Though this is technically still the “Life at Crooked Willow” blog, my correspondences are no longer penned from my favorite abode in the world. Four weeks into the college experience and my days are already being filled much differently than they were this summer. Hours normally spent weeding the gardens, leisurely reading the latest Karen Kingsbury, drinking coffee, and “porching” with my family are now full of engaging classes, reading about every topic from saving children from nature-deficit disorder to Beowulf to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, rehearsing with the Women’s Chorale, drinking coffee (some things never change..), and staying in touch with the ones I still love best! I have to admit that I haven’t really been here long enough to consider myself an expert on leaving home and settling roots in new places. But I have learned a few things in my time here so far:
- Sleep is important. Tremendously. People everywhere, not just college kids, try to fill their waking hours to the maximum and cut back on the “unnecessary” sleep. Yet they rarely can be engaged at all when they are so exhausted. I am becoming a large advocate of naps.
- Multi-tasking doesn’t really work. Several professors mentioned this in the first week of classes. We can be much more effective at our work if we stay focused on accomplishing one thing at a time before moving on. Wherever you are, be all there.
- Slowing down is good. Homework assignments, textbook reading, meals with floormates: these little things are all meant to be enjoyed, part of the experience. Like anything in life, we can’t appreciate things by rushing through them in a race to cross everything off our to-do lists before the next day arrives. Events are so much more enjoyable when you simply appreciate the journey while on your way to the next great destination.
- Having something to look forward to is wonderful. Counting down the sleeps until I can return home again is one of the best feelings ever. I firmly believe that it is important to stay rooted in the moment and enjoy each day as it comes. But there is a quiet hope that you can carry about when you have great things planned for the future. (In a sense, it’s like our own small version of having great plans for ourselves, when we know that God’s plans are even bigger than these!)
- Bring a little piece of home with you, wherever you go. Though my dorm room is abundant with sweet treasures and vintage pieces that remind me where I came from, home is deeper than my surroundings. It’s internal. It’s the letters I re-read from my mama and sister, encouraging me to dream bigger as I start this new journey. It’s the sweet little text messages from dear friends who are also starting down new paths and offering encouragement. It’s in phone calls home and pictures on my desk of the people closest to my heart. It’s in the deep-rooted confidence in my heart that some things will never change in our constantly fluctuating world. I am blessed that the love of my family is one of those things. It’s our faith and patience that gets us through these times apart. We know that when we are together again, the appreciation and love and laughter that will meet us there – and the time until then will be completely worth it! – Kate