I don’t know about generalizing life, but one thing I can say is that life happens whether you’re ready for it or not. It’s been kind of a crazy week. Two major essays and two poems were due on the same day, following a midterm the previous day. All of this happened after a “show weekend,” aka a weekend in which I was performing every night.
That said, I absolutely loved the busyness of the show, and it turned out to be an incredibly unique, fun, and exciting experience. I wanted to document the experience, to remember it in pictures—my favorite method of remembering things—but I got so caught up in the day that all I ended up with was this.
Sometimes it’s scary to me that such a complete experience can only be wrapped up in an unreliable and insubstantial memory. Nothing can quite capture the scope of it, the nuances. There’s a lot that happens at college. There’s a lot that I want to forget. But there’s even more that I want to remember. Sometimes there are things that I want to cherish long after they’ve passed.
These are the moments I don’t want to forget. Challenging myself emotionally and socially and being rewarded with floor-shaking music and dancing with new and old friends. Eating bottomless breadsticks with my cast at Olive Garden. Blasting Rent music on the drive back to the dorm.
There have also been some tough times this week. After a week of trying to contact study abroad advisors and collect information, I was finally informed that I am not eligible to study abroad at Oxford. To put this into context, I had been holding out the hopes that admissions officers would give me a bit of leeway in my GPA if I had good recommendations, seeing as the requirement was 3.7 and one class last semester dropped me to a 3.67 (I know, right?). Unfortunately, the advisor told me that the 3.7 is a hard-and-fast rule, so I would be automatically declined if I applied.
I’ve been dreaming about attending Oxford for a few years now. Ever since I visited the city with my parents a few summers back, it’s seemed like an amazing school to be at. Fall semester of my freshman year, after taking a seminar on Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Inklings (who all lived and taught at Oxford for extended periods of time), I knew that Oxford was my end goal. I’ve tried to be practical about my dreams. I’ve exercised caution when talking about the school. I’ve been reserved in describing just how much I want to go. I refrained from putting up a picture of the school on my wall in fear that I would raise my hopes too high. I even partially convinced myself that I wouldn’t be upset if I couldn’t go.
It still hit hard when I got that phone call, though, and there’s no point in saving my pride now. I’ve spent a lot of time praying and talking with God, wondering how I could be so close to this opportunity and yet be denied it. The difference of 0.03 is maddening—it would be better, almost, to miss the mark by a more substantial margin.
In the end, I’ve made my peace with this. Some of that is through just not thinking about it, some through coming to an understanding with God. If it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant to be; doors are only opened if we’re meant to walk through them.
The door was certainly opened for me when I was cast in the 10 Minute Play Festival, and I am incredibly fulfilled by my experience this past weekend and the opportunities that have arisen because of it. The door was opened when I was accepted to the University of Iowa: like with Oxford, I was denied admission to my first-choice school and instead found my way to where I am now. I can honestly say that I do not regret a thing, and I am positive that I am where I’m supposed to be. Maybe I wouldn’t have succeeded at Oxford, anyway, or maybe there’s just something greater waiting that I’ve never anticipated.
What I’m saying is this: life happens. Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about generalizing such an enormous concept, but, from my experience, things usually work out how they’re supposed to. As the saying goes, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. Have a good week, everyone!