Well folks, here we are.
It’s the end of the semester, the end of the year, and for some graduating next month, the end of an era of education as they are off to the real world. Copley Lawn is finally green again, the late-budding cherry blossoms on campus have bloomed, and as the warm weather makes its way towards us full-tilt, I’ve been having a disproportionate amount of flashbacks. I see hundreds of prospective students and their parents milling around campus, their faces open books of wonder, awe and excitement, but also fear, uncertainty and doubt. Those last three are harder to catch, but I know where to look, because that was me last year at GAAP weekend. My eyes were downcast (what to do?), my brows were furrowed in concentration (where would I go?), and the hundreds of quick smiles lavished upon the waves of new faces inevitably fell into frowns. Everyone seemed to have it all figured out, but I just didn’t know.
It’s been a year, and by this time I’m supposed to look at these fresh faces hiding untold emotions and feel a wave of something — maybe nostalgia — and say to myself, “Wow, this time last year I made the best decision of my life.” But that’s not true. I don’t feel that way, and that’s not what I think when I see all these new people.
I think about how no one prepared me to make that decision. I suppose I can’t hold anyone else but myself accountable, but I just felt lost — deeply lost — and I think I’m still wrapped up in that feeling. I think about how I accidentally went to an academic panel for the SFS, where I thought I had discovered a passion to sustain my academic interests, but no one told me that the curriculum was so rigid that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I think about how I miss my parents, about how I haven’t been home since winter break, and how I don’t know the next time I will see them after choosing to work on campus for the summer instead of taking back my old job at home. I think about the master plan I had for myself after graduating high school: spending one more summer at home before inevitably never coming back, moving on to bigger and better things than Nowhere, Florida had to offer. I think about how, on paper, it seems like I got everything that I had wanted, but in my heart, I know I lost a part of myself along the way.
The very real truth is that I am not happy at Georgetown. While one of the hardest things a person will ever do is pick himself up off the ground after falling flat on his face in failure, even harder, I think, is to know what to do when you don’t fail and it feels wrong just the same. Maybe I would have been better off having never gotten into Georgetown and having gone somewhere else — I’m sure I would have succeeded just the same. What’s taken me a year to wrap my head around is that I did it. I got in. I came here. I’m intelligent and capable enough to be here, but it’s just not enough. I can give my entire self to this school, but it’s just not giving me anything back in return. This school is prestigious and the people who go here are driven, but I have found that they don’t know how to live. There is little creative energy, students are “busy,” which I’ve come to translate to “unhappy,” and I know now that this life is not enough to sustain me. I need to be somewhere that inspires me. I need to meet people who I can connect to. I need to find a home.
My favorite style of painting is called chiaroscuro. It’s an Italian word meaning “a play upon light and dark.” I used to view my life as one of these beautiful works of art. Although most of the landscape was cast in ominous shadows, darkness could never seem to hold back the light. The sun would always shine through the clouds, and good would always triumph over evil. Happiness would come after sadness, and love would heal heartbreak. And although this eternal ballet of opposites makes for great art, I don’t know if it’s the struggle I want my life to be.
I know not everything will be within my power to control, but for those things that are, I will always choose happiness for myself. I may be at Georgetown next year, or I may not be, but if you want to find me, look for the light.
Cyrena Touros is a freshman in the College. The Superscript appears every other Sunday at thehoya.com.