Why the number of years here means nothing
I feel like a freshman:
I don’t know what time the Caf opens or closes or switches over for lunch.
I don’t know when the shuttle runs (but I’m always too late for it anyway).
I am putting off getting my convo credit like a boss.
I don’t know anyone.
Even though I am technically going on my fourth year on this blessed campus, I feel, once again, like a doe-eyed freshman baby. My little brother is currently a freshman at Pepperdine (ayo men’s golf team!) and he is always asking me questions about professors and books and what is “‘Bu Yo” anyway, and so I am persuaded that I possess more knowledge than him. Perhaps I am more knowledgeable. But more mature? More confident? More ready-for-the-real-world?
Every year at Pepperdine affords the opportunity for, pardon my lack of better words, “new stuff.” Whether that be a new major or new leadership position or new relationship or new dorm or new major (again), there is always something new.
Because of the presence of new stuff every year for us students, we tend to form our identities around it. My freshman year, I was a study bug and found a lot of my student identity in my major. I knew most of the science majors, chilled in my teachers’ offices from time to time (no shame) and could be seen tramping around campus with my biology book in one hand and a large coffee in the other. Ironically, managing my time took up most of my time as I struggled to keep dates, deadlines, and assignments straight. Oh, the learning curve of freshman year.
My sophomore year was divided into one semester in Malibu, one semester abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland. I was suddenly tied to many groups such as the Graphic and my sorority and others that I wanted to explore but hadn’t during my freshman year. Things were new. I had new stuff like trips to the Alps and a fancy shmancy header for Nam Knows Best and meetings on meetings on meetings designed, I think, to make students feel important. Side note: what really happens during meetings? In my opinion, it is a lot of blah blah blah and scheduling and writing sticky notes and pizza. I mean, I like blah blah blah and pizza. I just argue for more pizza. Less blah. And of course, all this was taken care of by my impeccable time management … jokes. Hadn’t I passed this learning curve already?
Continuing along this epic saga of my time at Pepperdine, during my junior year I searched high and low for new stuff to add to myself. I became a tutor, a participant in Songfest, an avid attendee of Campus Rec’s boxing classes, and ran for office in my sorority. It felt like freshman year all over again as I attempted to balance my schedule (all those dang meetings and pizza). Time management became once again crucial. I was back to the learning curve, barely staying on top of things and yet at the same time looking to add more new stuff.
Here we are. Senior year, let’s go, live it up, hashtag you only live once (yes that needed to be spelled out), and loads of new stuff. Even if you refuse to be involved on campus because you are too cool, you are probably pursuing internships or real jobs and lord knows that is about as stressful as new stuff can get. Again, the learning curve. How do I fit in 18 units and all my other new stuff?
All of our new stuff ties somehow into our identity, as students. Individually, we are this major and that chairperson and a random, but meaningful memories and experiences that together make up one of you and one of you and one of you. Collectively, though, we are a student body. Our identity, our class unity rides on us being involved in all of this new stuff. Without the new stuff, we become stagnant. So, true, every year may seem like freshman year with a never-ending learning curve, but, frankly, this learning curve is required if we are to remain the individuals and the collective whole that we are. The learning curve every year is necessary for us to grow.
Yes, I may have gotten lost the other day trying to find a class. Oops.
Yes, I may have walked into the Caf the other day and left after five minutes because I didn’t know anybody (no new friends).
And, yes, all this new stuff may seem a bit overwhelming during the first few weeks of where-the-heck-will-I-find-the-time. That’s okay. It’s supposed to be that way.
Embrace the new stuff, friends.
Cheers to all of the students, cheers to meetings, cheers to this campus of freshmen.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330