Earlier this semester, I broke my glasses frames after hitting a dip too aggressively while swing dancing. Thankfully, the new pair I ordered just came in—and I’m obsessed with them. And so, as I turn the page on my old frames (and soon on my junior year), I think now is the perfect time to assess my old prescription, set my vision for the future, and do some general reframing. Here are some things that are on my mind during this transition
First, friendships. One of the things that I pride myself on is being a good friend and choosing my friends carefully. I am a believer that friendship, done properly, can be one of the most transformative components of a person’s life, and some of my best friendships have been this for me. I carefully choose the people with whom I want to build close-knit bonds because it’s an investment of time, emotional energy, and vulnerability that I don’t want to go to waste.
In my past three years, that method has worked for the most part, but what it doesn’t account for is change. People grow so much over time—exponentially, it seems, within the college time frame—and there’s no way to predict if freshman year BFF Alice is going to be the right “friendship fit” for you in second semester, junior year. As many of my close friends are abroad this semester, I have found that the physical space helps you realize who you have become and are becoming, and the ways in which that trajectory of becoming brings you towards or away from certain friends, each on their own trajectories of becoming. It’s like two gas molecules, who for a certain period of their lifetimes are on trajectories that bring them closer until they collide, after which they go their separate ways, on paths altered by their interaction with the other molecule. I’ve given up on trying to control the intermolecular interaction of friendship as aggressively as I have in the past. You should make time for the people that matter, but by that same token, the people meant to be in your life will end up staying in it.
I also find myself reorienting my motivations in several areas. It’s no secret that college is a grind, especially at BC. During the earlier years, my fuel for the academic rat race was just my fear of being at the bottom of the class, and I quickly discovered how unsustainable that was. It’s difficult to want to keep up with demanding coursework if you’re not somewhat fundamentally interested in the material, so this year I began the process of converting my academic motivation from fear to wonder. I love the process of learning and coming to understand why things work, or why are the way they are. Ever since I was little that’s always come from my sense of curiosity, which has evolved over the years into a general sense of wonder.
This also brings God into the picture. The human capacity to understand, reason, and evaluate comes from God, so preserving a sense of wonder is deeply tied to the quality of my faith life. The more present God is in my day to day experiences, the more I feel I am in sustained contact with this motivating wonder. Of course, sometimes that contact is variable, so the current challenge for a more permanent reframing is to “catch the cloud and pin it down,” to borrow a phrase from The Sound of Music; that is, to cross a threshold in my faith life and reach a point where I feel consistently present to God in the workings of each moment of the day.
My new frames are a gradient blue, the color of the early summer Atlantic Ocean beating against the Massachusetts coast, a sight people may have seen from landing at Logan Airport. I absolutely love flying, and that specific sight of the New England shore brings me a beautiful sense of peace after a long trip, because at last I’m home. Based on this year, I expect senior year will consist of making that reframing concrete and letting go, allowing myself to ebb and flow through BC with the turn of the tides.