Dear Saba: A New Start

Dear Saba: A New Start

Dear College Freshman Saba,

Today, I applied to work at my summer job for the last time.
I expect several more lasts this year–my last night at home, my last stroll through the Quad–but this last feels more final.

After this summer, I will no longer spend my mornings navigating the winding roads to this little park; I will no longer get to work with the kids I have seen grow over the last four years; I will be no longer be a part of their lives at all.

I will be at a new institution, as lost and confused as my youngest campers on their first day. Instead of being a seasoned guide and mentor, I will be the shy and curious student, relying on my elders to help me adapt to a different environment.

nstitution, as lost and confused as my youngest campers on their first day. Instead of being a seasoned guide and mentor, I will be the shy and curious student, relying on my elders to help me adapt to a different environment.

You will leaf through the flyers, swaying in the light breeze, as you’ll read the descriptions of volunteer opportunities available for university students.

Though you’ll know you could be content engaging in almost any type of community service, you will examine the papers closely, willing yourself to feel some type of connection with the causes, like how you felt instantly at home when you entered this college.

You will be aware that it takes time to find your passions–and you will sigh as you recall you’ll only have a year or so to discover your calling–but in this hectic period of upheaval, you’ll want to find something that you don’t have to mull over or try to get used to; you’ll want to find something that just feels right.

And just as you’ll turn away from the table, an organization will catch your eye.

So, during this transition period, Saba, do not agonize over the reversal of your roles. Though you will not chant camp songs to kick off your new beginning, there is something undeniably exciting about this change. Embrace that. And welcome the fact that as you continue to cultivate your interests from high school, you will need to try new things. And it will take time for you to settle in your classes and finalize your extracurriculars. But didn’t you love that? Helping your campers learn new games and how to work as a group and how to express themselves?

When you step inside the tutoring center, you’ll find yourself feeling like that little timid kindergarten girl again. Your new boots will scuff against the polished linoleum floor, and you’ll flash a quick smile to the receptionist as you get your name tag and are assigned a partner.

But once you’ll enter that classroom, once you’ll see the children playing with blocks and coloring designs, you know you’ll be fine.

Oh, Saba, make sure to enjoy every aspect of student life at college. I know you’d much rather listen to indie music or rewatch a period drama for the upteenth time, but leave your dorm room. Appreciate guest speakers and attend assemblies. Create an intramural sports team and laugh with your teammates about how inexperienced you all are. And of course, while you’ll try other extracurriculars as well, don’t stop writing.

college. I know you’d much rather listen to indie music or rewatch a period drama for the upteenth time, but leave your dorm room. Appreciate guest speakers and attend assemblies. Create an intramural sports team and laugh with your teammates about how inexperienced you all are. And of course, while you’ll try other extracurriculars as well, don’t stop writing.

Because there’s always more we can do to learn and grow and improve; and even if we are satisfied with our personal growth, there’s always a friend we can help or stranger who could use a helping hand.
Isn’t that a true education?

You’ll watch a little girl struggling to scrawl a sentence. As you’ll approach her, you’ll briefly think about how you still don’t know your way around campus and that your bed feels too small and that you have too many assignments already. As you’ll take your seat, all of that will go away.
You’ll smile at the girl.
“Let’s get started.”

Love,
High School Senior Saba

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