It’s two weeks until classes, but the insanity of supplies and textbooks and last-minute class changes has already begun. Am I excited? Most definitely. But I’m also kind of nervous.
It’s just a fact: college is hard.
Whoever you are, whatever your year, whatever your major, if you want more out of college than free food, it’s going to be hard. And sometimes, it’s going to suck. Not just because it’s hard, but because there are times (and maybe it’s just engineering, but I doubt it)…
There are times when college can make you feel like an idiot.
I guess it’s not just college. Trying anything can make you feel sadly inadequate.
With copious amounts of free time this summer, I finally decided to follow one of my oldest ambitions and write a novel. You know what they say: write what you know. Among baking, math, and dreams, I landed on dreams.
I might very well have a problem because I consistently have really weird dreams that often involve death. There’s been the usual death-facing adventures via bombing or gunshots. There’s been an escape from a Siberian prison, stabbed with a syringe of poison, caught in a cruel real-life video game, and been an incredibly fat, male, sumo wrestler version of myself in a gladiator-style fight against a ferocious tiger.
These nightmares became especially bad when writing this novel. The Bizarre Dreamer was a story of a man and his dreams about the end of the world. My brain was on overdrive about endings and disasters and The Worst Things Ever. My nights were spent exploring the inspiration provided by my subconscious, and my days were filled with making that into something coherent and meaningful.
I wanted to write a story so badly, and write a story I did. I finished the first draft and then ignored all the advice of everyone, and read it from cover to cover to next day. Upon finishing, I was struck with a sort of sinking realization.
The story sucked at being a story, and I sucked at being a writer. My antagonist was less menacing than a shadow. The ending I’d looked forward to turned out anti-climatic in the worst ways. It’s honestly kind of embarrassing how much of a stronger writer my subconscious is, how much more tension exists in my dreams than in my story. What can I say? How do you respond when you realize that you aren’t all you hoped you’d be? I was kind of broken-hearted.
And then, like every disappointment in life, I picked my head up and got over it.
Sometimes you take a chance on something, and guess what? Sometimes—a lot of times in my case—you suck.
You think, “Hey, maybe this risk will work out,” and it doesn’t. It leaves you flat on your face, alone and miserable and worse off than you were before.
You try to solve a problem set and you work on it for hours and at the end of the day, you get an F on the homework you spent days laboring over.
Or you listen to the new serpent guy in the garden and try out some Forbidden Fruit and whoosh, goodbye Paradise, hello Earth.
You do the right thing, obey your dad, and suddenly he’s tying you down to an altar as the sacrifice.
You think your brothers will like your new coat of colors just as much as you do and then they sell you as a freaking slave.
You screw up and take Bathsheba as your wife, and everyone will talk about it for the next thousand years and more.
You failed? Sure. But you still tried. If you fail, when you fail, God does what God always does. Picks you up wherever you fell and flies you where you need to go. And the sin you committed turns into the greatest story of love and passion ever—such that an entire species and their relationship with God is never the same again. And you just went from slave to second-only-to-Pharaoh. And the mistake you made with Bathsheba turns into the King of Israel, Wise Man, and honored author of several books in the bestselling Book of all time.
So, Mr. College–bring it. How could we be afraid to fall when God’s right there to pick us up?
Falling on your face is far better than never trying to go anywhere at all.