It was 11 o’clock last night when an email came through on my phone with the subject line “Take it SLO Audition Results.” I sucked in a breath and held it, the moment of truth was finally upon me.
This was it.
The thing is, I was ready for it. I didn’t even have to open the message to know what it would say… After going from 57 of us to only 22 at callbacks, I could feel the “no” in my heart before I read it with my eyes; truthfully, I didn’t need the email to tell me that.
In that moment, I was okay with it.
Because at the time, I was also sitting at a table in our frozen yogurt place on campus, surrounded by a group of writers like me just talking about books and authors, and everything we love about the written word. As soon as that rejection, that “no,” resounded through my chest, it was just as quickly filled with the warm appreciation I could hold onto for another new part of my life just beginning. That’s when I realized something important, something that we can only really understand through experience— we are going to hear a lot of “no’s” in our lives, and we are going to try for a lot of things that weren’t meant to be a part of our futures. But there is one small hope held within that fact: Even when people tell you no, even when rejection comes knocking on the seemingly hollow walls of your heart, there will always be someone else who will tell you yes. And maybe, just maybe, that will be right where you need to be.
Picture this, I am now two full weeks into my freshman year and people are beginning to worry about others finding their groups and solidifying friendships, discovering their niches and all. Then there are things like Snapchats and Instagram photos of all of our friends who have been in school for over a month longer than us, posting pictures of their new friends and new lives reminding us that we’ve got to get a move on. I was thinking all of this while sitting with my writing group and I realized that I had just found one of my niches, one full of people who all love the same thing I do and love it for different reasons. Basically, everything I love about people and books in one group. I had found it.
But wait, what about the music production club? Or the Black Student Union? And what about all the things I will find later, the people or the new groups and the new classes… What about all of those things that maybe I will want to be a part of too?
Call it a Millennial theme or simply figuring it out for ourselves, but I am beginning to understand that we do not need to fit into one group or another. I’m the kind of person who says, “why not do it all!” I feel like that’s the point of college, other than education of course. It seems like this is our chance to branch out and meet new people, to try all the things we’ve been curious about or wanting to understand better before it’s too late and we no longer can. This is our opportunity. As my parents like to say, it kind of goes like this: Minor in what you love, major in what you can pay the bills with. Translation for college as a whole: try everything out if you want to, take some chances here and there, but keep your grades high and your spirit even higher.
Right now, I’m a chemistry major but soon enough that will change to a Kinesiology major with an English minor. Hopefully. Most people ask me why the drastic add of an English minor, it’s so different from those two major choices. Well, as most of you already know, I love writing and literature and just the idea of it all. I want to learn about it and study what I am passionate about, so why not make it a minor and go from there. It almost seems like I have a plan for where I want to go, I’d like to think I do. But the other thing about plans is that a lot of the time, they end up changing. Earlier this week I was already thinking about how acapella practices would fit into my schedule— talk about counting my chickens before they hatch right? Now plans are changing and I’m moving on to join other things and fit other activities into that time slot, like studying… Or taking a nap. There is nothing else to do than to simply adapt to what is going on around us and sometimes, just hope for the best. One foot in front of the other, step by step, and day by day.
I know that I’ve only been here for three weeks, but if I had to sum it all up in one word, it would be adjustment. It is almost a reality shock to be surrounded by people who don’t know you or your story, while you’re all in the same place to learn and figure out what you want in life. It is a chance to maybe put yourself out there and redefine who you are compared to who you used to be. I have already done probably one of the most daring and un-introverted things I have ever tried— singing in front of 57+ people knowing they were all sort of judging me. But I had fun, I enjoyed it. At the end of the day, I feel like that’s what matters.
Time goes by slowly here, but also quickly if that’s possible, and I’d like to say this was a crazy week but it is starting to look like they are all going to be that way. From joining new clubs and meeting new people to learning new things and trying my hand at something different, this is college. College is a learning curve, an adjustment, full of rejection or acceptance as well as newfound passions and amazing people. From what I’ve heard from a lot of friends, it takes a little getting used to but soon enough it’ll be the time of my life. And I can’t wait.
So maybe the night started with a “no” after I put myself out there, hoping to join this awesome experience that I wanted to try out. But also at the same time, I could feel a resounding “yes” of warmth spreading through my heart while I sat there with a new group I had just become a part of. It’s the up and down story of our lives, just hoping to find some stepping stones to lead us in the right direction. Maybe some of those will be the rejections while others are the acceptances, before we know it, they will create the path to lead us into a future we want to be a part of. I guess that’s the point, the learning curve of college; the ups and downs or the yes’s and the no’s. We go through it all to find ourselves heading in the right direction. And if that direction is anything like I’ve heard from so many other people, then I know that each and every one of us will make it through all of this just fine.