Sunday, August 27, 2017

missing u...niversity

Photo credit by: PeLo - image source
It's hard to believe that freshman move-in day at North Carolina A&T State University was 10 years ago; it's even harder to believe that the same memories still plague my mind, repeating like a broken record on my heart until I'm good and numb. The decade has passed by swiftly and it honestly doesn't feel like that much time has elapsed. Despite the memories made "post-college", I still think those years were some of the best days of my life.

It was the year that changed everything; the year that molded our first ideas of freedom.  Being on a college campus, vibrant with ambition and comradery, gave us that safe space to begin to really explore the world around and within  us. College was this new and exciting world that completely sucked us in; enamored by the thrill of it all.

In the first few days, campus was buzzing with an ambiance of new beginnings for everyone, mixing anxiety and anticipation in the same breathing space. The Holland Bowl - as we called the grass patch of sunken land in front of the cafe - was flooded with the livelihood of the HBCU experience; food, music, Greek letter organizations. Even the upperclassmen felt nostalgic as they noticed the wave fresh faces, reminding them of their own freshman move-in experience, and perhaps even a little saddened by the reality of how fast time had flown by. It was such a vibe and The whole experience just ended up being way more than I expected it to be. I remember like it was yesterday and sometimes, I catch myself secretly wishing I could get a taste of it one more time, the same exact way.

Rest in peace, love, and heavenly health
It wasn't long before everyone around me felt like family. I met people who - unbeknownst to me - would completely reshape life as I knew it up to that point. From the Lady Aggies Swim team, to people who came to A&T and were also from Atlanta, to my crew from the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area, I would meet groups of friends who are still some of the most amazing individuals I have ever met, who I know will be lifetime partnerships.

There was this super cool chick from up north who would end up being my absolute equal and I was fortunate enough to room with her; I couldn't have asked for a better roommate freshman year. I would also meet a boy who I would think about non-stop for the next decade, whose friendship would mean the world to me, even after years of not speaking. To this day, I consider him to be the love of my life, although there wasn't a fairy tale ending. Because of him, I met one of my best guy friends, who in turn connected me to the DC crew that I became super attached to. Most importantly, I would find a place that would be the closest thing that ever felt like home since graduating high school, simply because of all the beautiful connections I was blessed enough to make while I was there.


As I scroll through Facebook now and admire all the cliques who remained close after graduation, I can't help but wonder how different life would be if I put more effort into cultivating those relationships, most of which are still very important to me. I swoon at all the career moves, wedding receptions, bridal parties, baby showers, and photos of those same familiar faces, who were once fearful about a new path ahead, but are now blooming into exceptional young adults. In a lot of ways, comparing my life to others makes me fully aware that I took all of it for granted and that I'll never get that time back.

Out loud and even in the sacred places of my prayers, I've said how many times I miss everything that college was for me. I miss the people. I miss the level of excellence and ambition that I was surrounded by on a daily basis. I miss witnessing scholars turn into social butterflies, as they "let loose" on the weekends with reckless abandon. I miss having immediate access to everything and everyone I loved. I miss living in the memories in real time, not the way I'm doing at this moment. Everyone makes mistakes, but I think one of my biggest mistakes was allowing the opportunity to maximize time as much as possible slip away from me without ever fully experiencing student life at an HBCU.

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