And especially to my brother.
College. One day he knocks on the door. Without knowing how, when, or why you start to consider “independence” at the end of your school years. Those who have experienced leaving home at 18 and living “college life” in the U.S. know the feeling I am talking about.
Until you decide to leave and the place to go, it’s hard. The process is long and you know you will always have doubts about whether you made the right choice.
Freshman year. Everything is new. It’s a little scary, but you feel like it. After a few weeks you miss your home, your friends and your life. Cutting your summer short and running out of parties in August is tough at that age, I know. But the camp effect is starting to fade away to turn your uni into your new home. You do crazy things, live incredible experiences and mature without realizing it. You learn what beer pong is, beer olympics, soccer/lacrosse/hockey/football… and all possible formals. All with your new family, college friends. You start making relationships that you know are for life.
Sophomore and Junior year. Transition years. Where everything happens. Good and bad. You turn 21 and you have the feeling of being freer than you were. You do internships, you think about your future, but what matters is the day-to-day. Carpe Diem is your motto. You begin to find your vocation, to not depend on mom and dad to make daily decisions. You make bad decisions, but you forgive yourself and drown your sorrows with your roommates in a country bar where only good things happen.
Senior year. Start the countdown with “it’s my last first day of college”. Now everything is based on Carpe Diem. You see your graduation day as the date of the end of the world. For you, May 10th, 2020. First semester, very serious, but crazy fun. A brutal townhouse where conversations end every week on grad week plans. Christmas, back home.
Senior year. Spring semester. January does become the beginning of the end. Spring break plans, a trip to the beach, lots of coronitas and an “I love college” feeling that nothing and no one can take away from you.
You return home, to the apartment you have made your home. You read WhatsApp groups and your head suddenly goes back to the real world. What the hell is going on in the world? Your family calls you and asks you to come back because of a damn virus that is sweeping the world.
It is clear that the priority is not college, nor those two months for which you have been counting down for 4 years. But the feeling of leaving everything behind: your home, your friends and your life, cannot be taken away from you.
What I ask of you: gather the things you can, get on that plane, cry what you have to cry, but keep a cool head. The goal now is to get home safely. If you run into problems, solve them calmly. I promise you, you are going to graduate, you are going to have grad week and you are going to throw your cap. And I will be there to see it.
College are 4 years that cannot be forgotten. Don’t let this little crown be the one to screw it up for you.
Who has the opportunity to live it.