One of the things that has changed in my life this year is that I’m teaching at Buff State. Once a week I trot over to the Buff State campus, I search for parking like every other poor soul in town, and I teach some viola lessons. It’s a pretty low-key position, but doing this job has put me back into regular contact with college students, and it’s been a really rewarding experience.
I’m 34-years-old, and I graduated from college in 1997, which, if my math is correct, was ten million years ago. Being back on a college campus after almost a decade and a half away is interesting, particularly around the end of the semester.
I’m not so old that I don’t remember how insanely stressful college finals can be. In fact, stepping on to campus, I have to say, the stress is palpable. It’s in the air. Being in that collegiate atmosphere, even as a visitor, and even 13-years-later, creates in me an interesting combination of nostalgia and retroactive panic.
At the risk of sounding like I think I’m some sort of wise old sage (WARNING: I assure you, I am NOT a wise old sage), I guess I feel compelled to say this today: If you are a student like I was, and you feel like you might explode from the stress, and being in school makes you feel like you might have a nervous breakdown…..just try not to worry, and just try to survive it. It won’t always be like this.
When I wander around Buff State, the memory of that “end of the year stress” is so strong that I literally feel it in my body, but honestly, I don’t remember ANY of the events from college that caused that stress. After a few years away from school, the memories of specific tests and recitals and exams just kind of faded, and they definitely lost their death grip on my psyche.
Being around college kids reminds me that whatever I’m freaking out about today probably isn’t going to mean diddly-poo in a few years. In a few years we’ll all have entirely new diddly-poo to fret about; which, if you think about it, is oddly comforting.