a familiar oasis

Senior year, week one? Check.

First days have previously come with a wide variety of pressing questions. Who will I sit next to? Do I sit in the front? How hard will these professors be? Who do I sit with at lunch? Am I going to make it from Class A to Class B on time? Will I be able to manage this semester? Will I make new friends? Where do I sit in the library? Can I eat my lunch in there? Is it Friday yet?

This week, my thoughts were different.

Is this really the last first day? How will I balance my real life with all of these credits? When will I have time to eat lunch? How is it already Friday? The stress of finding friends, managing professors, having a lunch companion… all of those thoughts have dissolved and left this newly-made senior looking towards the future.

Classes were the least of my worries. This week brought another unique dance experience. Pam Pietro, a professor at NYU Tisch and a wonderful spirit, brought her energy and expertise to five members of my college’s dance company. I was fortunate enough to be chosen for the experience, learning and growing from the incredibly knowledgable woman. The piece we put together was a re-model of something she recently set on dancers in Malaysia. “Spill” integrates the ideas of the “spilling” and dispersing of bodies physically into space, with the idea of the spilling of religion and culture, the sharing and melting of those traditions and ideals.

I am so immersed here. It’s like everyday at school is a rich abundance of creativity in dance, substance in relationships, knowledge in lecture courses, and pure satisfaction in what’s around me. This campus is one of the most beautiful places I’ve known, packed with hundreds upon hundreds of people my age, growing, learning, trying to figure it out. Never again will I be immersed in such a culture. The fact that it’s fleeting makes it more meaningful.

“My mind is like a clustered ball of string…and I can’t even begin to find the beginning or the end to untangle the mess. All I have is the middle, so here it is.” 

These words were written by a former JMU dancer and writer I strive to emulate. Those words encompass this week’s feelings. My college’s rich environment is one that can’t effectively be illustrated from beginning to end, but rather shared in the way that it is right now, at this very moment.

I am encouraged. I am enlightened by my discoveries this summer and I am strengthened through those experiences. I am bettered. I am still learning. My spirit is full. It can only go up from here.

My prayer is that you can feel encouraged today. Though the place you are may feel jumbled and unclear, find comfort in knowing you don’t have to explain. Just be, just experience.


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