I was walking to my favorite lunch spot when I saw a sign that read, “We are closed today. Kaitlin’s going to college!” That same day I saw a Facebook photo of a dear friend standing in the airport sending her daughter away to college in New York City.
I was struck by the sense of excitement I felt from a simple sign on the door, “She’s going to college.” I’m sure others read the sign and thought, “Oh! Okay, it’s closed.” But, I was deeply struck by the instant emotion I felt when I read those words. I even smiled the rest of the way down the block.
I had an opportunity to spend 24 years of my life on a college campus: 4 of them as student and 20 of them as a college administrator. It truly is a statement that can evoke such a sense of excitement “going to college.”
High school is an important part of development; but yet, it happens during a very awkward part of our development. We experience a great deal of emotional and physical growth. As naturally social beings, we are pressured to balance social interactions and the impact that has on our mindset and thinking.
I don’t want to diminish the valuable experience high school provides. Or the memories that are shared. But, there’s something fresh and engaging that comes from the simple phrase “going to college”.
College can mean freedom and a chance to try new thoughts and ideas. Or it might be an introduction to a whole new world of choices, challenges, and new relationships. Over the years I heard many students say, “I met the friends I’ll have for life in college.” Or, “I figured out who I was in college.” For many people, it is one of the most transformational times in their life.
I kept reflecting back on that “feeling” of excitement I had when I read the sign “going to college.” I wondered to myself, “What if I had a little of that every single day?”
Everyday life isn’t as transformational as the experience of going away to college. But every day can be our own little “going to college” mindset experience. It’s a sense that the best is still yet to come. There’s always room to grow. The next adventure might be waiting for us. New people can enter our life. Learning never stops. There is hope.