Hailing from Ohio, I have visited under 10 colleges and universities in Virginia. This weekend, however, I had the opportunity to visit my good friend, Morgan, at Longwood University. First, the drive on I-95 further cemented my belief that Virginia drivers are quite distinctly insane. From bizarre driving infractions, such as the propensity for hovering over lane lines instead of remaining in the middle of lane lines, to the conspicuous avoidance of blinker usage, a phenomenon drivers of the commonwealth believe to be a worthless, time-consuming device for overly cautious squares, Virginia’s drivers should pause to reflect (if their precious time allowed for contemplation) that their lives, and lives of fellow drivers sharing their highways, are truly valuable. To put my thought directly: I just don’t understand how you guys are alive. Ah yes, to return to the point of my story … Following my hyperventilating and mildly expletive-laced purge, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the natural, “non-vehicular” scenery.
Parts of Ohio are known as pastoral “farm country” (although I hail from city life, between Akron and Cleveland); as I was driving up to Farmville and enjoying the natural scenery, I grew quite nostalgic. I find the admonition “you never miss it until it’s gone” to be applicable to more than just this scenic drive but also to college life itself. Once you are completely immersed in an entirely new world, those moments of your old world become blindingly clear and bittersweet. I never thought twice about passing Brandywine or Boston Mills NEO ski resorts, or speeding through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to get to a rehearsal. Yet now that those beauties are not an option for me except in memory, I wish I would have paid more attention when I took their awesome sights for granted. I believe that our society is so completely engrossed with what the future holds, that we truly fail to live in the moment as we fail to see each moment. Life is far too meaningful and fleeting to take even the smallest thing for granted. Enough digressing with the clichés, and on to Longwood.
Morgan guided me through a tour of the campus; she pointed out the staples in all college campuses – the library, the student union, the dorms and, most importantly, the Chik-fil-A. I found Longwood to be quaint and charming yet still extremely foreign to me. It was not because I did not know how to navigate around the campus or because I was a stranger to everyone, it was because I have truly established a place and an identity at CNU – the nature of which, did not become clear to me until I visited a friend who attends another university. Though I clearly enjoyed listening to the bands play at Longwood’s Oktoberfest and meeting all types of students at LU, with every site I toured and with every person I met, I reflected back to CNU instinctively.
I am now in my final year, already preparing for life after Christopher Newport, but I find it so surprising that I did not realize how comfortable and involved I am at CNU until this past weekend. It’s a pleasant surprise, though; if anything, it again serves as a reminder that I need to be living in the moment because, in a few short months, I will be looking back and missing my life here. College sneaks up on you and in a blink of an eye is gone. So enjoy your life, right now, in this moment, become excited for what the next chapter is going to bring, and know that you’ll find your place and your identity without ever being conscious of it … it’s just like breathing. And, PLEASE drive carefully, stay within the lane lines and employ the underused, neglected blinker.