It’s become something of an ongoing series on Noah’s Arc to reflect on the specific highs and lows of being in the class of 2024 and entering college in the thick of the pandemic. I’ll admit that most of the reflection has been negative; I suppose the downsides are easier to write about and certainly easier to write sarcastic quips around.
Today, though, I want to focus on positivity because, while this semester has brought the lowest of lows of my college experience (skirting the line of burn-out, anxieties about the future: bush-league Cornell stuff, really), I’ve also experienced the highest highs yet. The past few months have been my first real taste of the college experience. It may have taken four semesters of social wandering to get here, but I finally feel like I have a grasp on what college life is like; better late than never, I guess.
In previous years, I never understood why people said that I’d barely be spending any time in my dorm in college. My outlook on college was shaped by the head-start that my peers seemed to have gotten in finding community. For whatever reason, this semester has been a different story.
This semester has been so much busier and more rewarding than any past semester. I see familiar faces all around campus, have significantly grown my list of lunch contacts, and am coming back to my dorm every night, exhausted.
Reading my past two columns on my social experiences (or lack thereof) is both nostalgic and frustrating. I’m inclined to be much harder on my past self than I should be, now that I have hindsight to fall back on. It’s easy to blame past Noah for being too timid or low-energy, only because I’m no longer those things, at least not to the degree that I was then.
I couldn’t tell you why I’ve become more outgoing this semester. Maybe it’s the added confidence of being an upperclassman, but I’ve felt so much more comfortable and natural in my interactions with people, old and new. It’s been such an inexplicable process that I can’t even take credit for growing my self-confidence or changing my outlook on my own. It seems like such an arbitrary change, like all the experiences I was complaining about missing out on were just a supernatural mood shift away.
What I do know is that I’m dreading leaving college now more than ever. Having memories to look back on comes with the added burden of eventually being forced to leave them behind.
The main thing I’ve taken away from being a late bloomer is that everyone has their time. I was fully prepared to spend my last two years at Cornell at a snail’s pace, just getting by on self-reliance and a dash of academic validation. What I’ve found, though, is that I really don’t want it to end.
With that, I leave Noah’s Arc on a (possibly) year-long hiatus as I transition to competing for editor of the opinion section. If I make it through compet and am elected, I’ll be spending the next two semesters chasing after procrastinating columnists and endlessly fidgeting with janky design software. If Noah’s Arc comes back before then, you all will know that the editor position wasn’t quite for me.
It’s only by God’s grace that I’ve been able to both find community at Cornell and write this column. I firmly believe that all the positive growth I’ve experienced this semester has been from God, and that the past two years have been periods of learning and preparing me. Noah’s Arc will be gone for a bit, but the columnist in me will always be pondering new opinions to share.
Noah Do is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]. Noah’s Arc runs every other Sunday this semester.