by 25 March 2009on
I just got home from an orchestra rehearsal. We're playing Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite. Grieg's music is very episodic, almost chunky. Each passage usually isn't terribly difficult to play, but they can be frustrating to play all together as a coherent piece of music, rather than a sort of montage of modulated melodies. It's the transitions that are hard.
Today our history class was visited by Michael and Amanda. Their sentiments reminded me of many other high school alumni visiting from college: in many ways, they missed high school. All of the most awesome people I know always said that college was the best time of their life, so this trend was worrying.
I've concluded that this is simply selection bias. The kids that come back and visit their old high school classes are more likely to miss high school than those who don't.
This was the first time I'd met Amanda in person. Andrew seemed a bit weirded out by the idea of meeting someone in person after knowing them online. It's always a jarring experience, as you try to reconcile their physical reality with the image and voice you've (essentially) made up to represent them. But you get used to it.
Afterwards, Scruggs noted that Michael and Amanda's reflections on college life were more insightful than our previous visitors'. They talked about freedom in college. For Michael (at UCLA), this seemed largely the result of anonymity—when nobody knows you, nobody has any expectations for you. Amanda (at Middlebury) noted that in high school, you're working towards college. Once in college, you're working towards the rest of your life—and figuring out what that means. “Condemned to be free.”
They seemed to agree with our cynical philosopher. The move from high school to college, they stressed, was not as smooth as anyone imagines it will be. You don't suddenly “find yourself” and have a strong identity and goals. College life is not an idyllic march to fulfillment and success.
It's the transitions, after all, that are hard.