When I sat down in my little cubby hole to write this (I am literally sitting in the hallway in a little alcove that I seemed to have claimed as my own), I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to write about. I always run into problems deciding what to talk about on here because, let’s be honest, I’m not terribly exciting. And, contrary to popular belief, there isn’t too much to do in Oxford on the weekend if you are on a tight budget, so I usually stay at the house and hang out with people, which is actually quite good fun since I like everyone here. Tonight I was sitting in the kitchen with Ryan, Sonya, and Meredith, when Ryan brought up that he thought Pixar’s “Up” was the greatest love story of all time, which, inevitably (in a household of nerds and amateur movie critics), led to a lengthy discussion on which male fictional character was the best. Ryan (sorry, I’m publishing it) said it was Mr. Darcy which, of course, had a profound impact because Sonya didn’t agree. Words were flying, arguments ensued, people were brought into the conflict, alliances were formed–it wasn’t pretty. Okay actually it was a lot of fun and a pretty good way to spend your Saturday night if you’re into literary discussions with some of your closest friends (which I am).
So that seems like a pretty random story, right? Well, not necessarily…
Over the past week I’ve been having some good discussions with a few of my friends here, which led me to realize that I feel very disconnected from everything. It’s actually been a long time since I started to feel this way. Being a college student means you’re away from home for extended periods of time, so over the course of a four year period, you lose touch with most of the people you were close to in high school. They either went to different colleges, started working or moved away, starting their own lives. Of course, we all said, “We’ll keep in touch,” but people rarely do. And that doesn’t mean that we care about each other any less, but people change and after high school you usually leave your parents house either because you’re away at school or are starting your own family. Totally normal stuff.
Coming to the end of my college (*cough* undergrad *cough*) career I’m starting to feel the same way I did in high school, but being here in Oxford has made that feeling especially pronounced. In a sense, like one of my friends here said of herself, “I don’t really belong anywhere.” I don’t belong in Oxford because I’m really just passing through (unless I somehow ended up back here in the future for good). My time here is limited, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My time here has given me a chance to learn a lot of things, both academically and about myself. But I don’t belong here. In a few months I will get on a plane and go back to my “home,” so I’m going to enjoy the time I have left.
But, really, what is that? I don’t belong at my home university–I’m graduating in May. As of now, I’m not sure where I’ll be at for my Master’s, so I may be back there in the fall. But, still, I won’t really belong there anymore since the program is online. And I actually don’t feel like I belong in my hometown either. I love my house and I love my mom and my sisters, but I’m not the biggest fan of our town. It’s so small and there is literally no where to go, so if I’m at home I usually don’t leave the house. Which is fine most of the time. And since I didn’t do such a great job of staying in touch with people from high school, I really only have a few friends in the area and it’s pretty tough to get together because they all have lives and families and I’m in a serious relationship with books. (Oh, the life of an academic.)
I’m not entirely sure why all these thoughts have been surfacing lately. I guess it’s because of some recent conversations, but I’m realizing how difficult it will actually be when I graduate and leave my friends at school. Sooner than that I will leave the awesome people I’ve met here, which leads me to constantly feel disconnected from everything and everyone. I haven’t known anyone here for longer than two months, so it’s such a strange feeling to be comfortable around everyone and yet have that departure hanging in the future, marking the end of our time here together. I know a lot of us will keep in touch (what else is technology for?), but it will be a lot different than our whirlwind friendships in Oxford.
And what’s more, I feel quite disconnected from my friends at my home university. I have a terrible quality where I feel like I’m bothering people when I talk to them, so I usually wait for them to talk to me first, leading to an awkward lull in communication (at least awkward in my mind) as I try to decide what to say and when to say it. I’m not really sure how to get past this awkwardness except to force myself to send them random Facebook messages or wait for someone else to get in touch first. Not having a phone is part of the problem, although I really love that it’s just sitting in my drawer being useless. So, hey, if you’re my friend at school and you’re reading this, TALK TO ME. Because I love you and want to talk. [Tangent.]
I know that when I get back things are going to be really strange when I return to school for the last two weeks of the semester. And then I’ll graduate. Yikes. (Where are the breaks on this ride?)
At first when I thought up my blog title, “To be determined” meant that I just didn’t have a title yet, but now I realize it’s quite fitting. My whole life is TBD because I literally have my entire future in front of me with only a vague inclination of where to go. For most people (or everyone, probably), life isn’t a straight line with humongous signposts telling you “HOW MANY MILES TO THE NEXT EXIT.” Life is more like a walk in a heavily wooded area where the path isn’t very clear–grass has grown up and leaves are covering it in places, so you only get glimpses of what direction you’re heading. And you’ll probably encounter a lot of twists and turns and might even crash into a few trees, but that doesn’t mean you’re not on a path.
Because I’m essentially untethered to the world I once lived in, my future is completely open–I can go anywhere I want and be anything I want to be.
And that fact is a wonderful and terrifying thing. Wish me luck!