CAUGHT IN THE NARRATIVE

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I’m not homesick yet, but I know I will be, and that’s when the fairytale will end.


The narrative begins with the stories we consume. The books I eat, the movies I watch, and the music I listen to all inspire me to create stories for myself. Some of them come in the form of books, while others sprout up on this blog. Some I keep in my own head, and some I try to live out for myself, only to realize that while I consciously create my own story, I can’t always write it for myself.

College is one such narrative. Instantly, a few thousand kids from all over the world are plunged into a setting none of them have ever really experienced before. Going to college is like a predictable plot twist that still doesn’t determine the ending of a book. In fiction, we know how it’ll all play out. In real life, nobody actually rides off into the sunset.

I know the first few weeks are going to be almost intoxicating. There’ll be lots of temptations to do things that I wouldn’t be tempted to do at home; there’ll be lots of opportunities to explore, new people to meet, new places to discover. I’ll probably be overwhelmed.

But here’s what I hope:
I hope I make every effort to stay tethered to the ground and keep my head screwed on my shoulders. If I don’t, I’ll fly off, get pricked by something particularly sharp, and wobble back down to earth. I hope I hold close the fundamental truths onto which I’ve built my life, not because they’re the only things I’ve ever known, but because they’re the only things I know to be one hundred percent true.

I hope that I make every effort to get to know people, people who are different from me and who think differently than I do, while at the same time still holding fast to my own foundations. Even though I’m only a few days in, I’ve already begun to notice that the social hierarchy here is way different from the one in high school. In high school, I could categorize people based on how they acted or dressed or talked. Here, I can’t. I can’t categorize everyone into the “nerd” group, because we kind of all are. I can’t categorize people into the “popular” group, because there are just too many people to figure out. It’s different, and I haven’t figured it out yet. And I don’t really know if I want to. Because it’s fun to be surprised, it’s fun to be around people who are wonderfully unpredictable, and it’s fun to be around people who have their own opinions and aren’t afraid to talk about them.

I hope that my perception of the world will not necessarily change, but will deepen and grow as I learn more about people, about faith, and about myself.

I hope that I will be able to start and propel substantial conversations, and be able to defend my positions on them.

I hope that I have fun.

I hope that I learn a lot.

Welcome Week is coming up, and with it lots of opportunities to hang out, be social, and try new things. I’ll be caught in the swell of doing things with people I don’t really know (but hope to get to know throughout the course of the week), running around, and having fun, but I hope that in the back of my mind, I’ll remember not to get too caught up in the story I create for myself. It’s not a movie entitled Rachel Goes to College; it’s Rachel, going to college, leaving home, and trying to figure out adulthood. Home isn’t in Orange County, California, anymore; it’s in San Diego. After all, she’s living there nine months out of the year. She’s not a Standard College Student; she’s a writer, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and, most importantly, a Christian. Those aren’t things she can or should hide.

And yes, it will be hard, and it will be tiring, and there will be conflict, and bad things will happen, but hope always clings to the underbelly of the beast, and that hope--and joy--is ten thousand times more satisfying than any fairytale ending anyone could ever write.

13 comments

  1. Reading this post took me back to the beginning of this year, and how exciting this new chapter of life is! I know you'll be brilliant :)

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  2. I am so excited for you and proud of you. Praying for you, friend. <3

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  3. Really happy for you :) Wishing you all the best <3

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  4. so excited for you!!! be brave rachel. and keep running towards the lord. <3
    xx

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  5. Wow, beautifully written! I've always been excited to go to college, and that has not changed.
    It sounds like you're walking right into an adventure that God has planned out perfectly for you. Enjoy it, savor it, don't forget to soak in the scenery because if you wait too long and only then look over your shoulder -- it'll be lost in the distance.

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  6. Good luck at college. Sounds like you're on quite the adventure. (loved this post. <3)

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