The college epiphany

U-News Staff

I’ve realized some things while in college – a lot of things actually – but one thing in particular has sparked an idea within me. A lot of realizations have to do with being in a completely different culture than the small town I’m used to. The greatest realization I’ve come to is that I am a tiny person, and that we are all tiny people, but we are in control. I am in control of myself. I choose where I go, who I hang out with and when I go out.

This is all up to me and I’ve never really had this kind of control before. But while I admire this new power, I’m also terrified by it, because it is entirely up to me to go where I want, with whom I want and when I want. All these possibilities can either make me or break me. They can shape me into a greater person or they can  cause me to wither. However, whatever the outcome, I know it’s because of me and all the choices that I make, and no one else.

The grandest realization is the thought of seeing the world. Coming to college in a giant city compared to my  tiny hometown of 2,000 residents shows me exactly how much I’ve been missing. The world is huge, and Kansas City is only one city out of thousands in the United States, and the U.S. is only one country out of hundreds across the globe. There are billions of people on this planet and I only know a small portion of them. The number of people I knew before college was significantly smaller, and I can’t help but wonder how I have gone without knowing these new people for so long.

Each person I’ve met here at UMKC has affected me in some way, whether they are one of my best friends or just an acquaintance. Even in the smallest ways, a person affects another. I knew this before college. What I didn’t know is that so many more people had room to affect me, and that I still had more opportunities to see the world differently through different people and different viewpoints. I didn’t realize that there were so many variations of people in this world, because I came from a small town where variation isn’t abundant. I thought I could stifle myself and live like that for the rest of my life.

Before I came to college, I dreaded the idea of putting myself out there, of going somewhere and that people would look at me and not know the story beneath my surface. In college I would be new. It terrified me.

Now, the possibility of being something more pulls at me. As I face new experiences, I know that I can’t go back to being the same girl I was in high school because I’ve already learned so much. I cannot go without the understanding that I am small but mighty, because might is something I never had in high school. This may vary from person to person, but in college, we all start anew.