By Welmoed van Ens
What strikes me when I look back at these past two semesters is the passing of time. My problem with time is that it’s completely whimsical. We think we can capture and measure it in calendars and hours, but the truth is that time doesn’t follow the rules. Time creeps by, flies by, and slips through our fingers.
The realization that my first year at UCU is almost over triggered my first memories of this place. The friends I made in Introweek are still my friends, and we still drink vodka before hitting the bar. I still love books and dancing, still think there’s nothing more adorable than little kids, still drag tea to every study date. Nothing changed, yet everything is different.
What happened? Time happened. I turned 18. Matured a little, and found new ways to be immature. Fell on my face and got back up again. And, without realizing it, I changed. That’s what time does to you. We are largely oblivious to it until we look back and recognize things that aren’t quite the same anymore.
For me, the change was mostly positive. If there were one thing I could tell my Introweek self it would be to slow the fuck down. Just because you’re surrounded by people that are in 3 boards and 7 committees, go on exchange to California and maintain a perfect GPA despite extensive socializing, this doesn’t mean that that’s the standard you need to measure yourself against. The only person you should be competing with is your past self. Besides, I could never spend all my time being productive because there is this excellent thing called the internet. I’ve had to learn that time spent doing nothing is never wasted if you enjoy it.
Of course, there’s more. Accepting that I will never live in a clean unit, for example, and that I need to leave my room before 08:59 even though I can see the classroom from my window. All of my Introweek siblings are experts in the field of sticking together, but my circle of friends now also includes people I met throughout the year.
Although I settled and found my place, I know that things will keep on changing until I graduate. This fall I get to watch a new generation of freshmen learn the same things as my Introweek self did last year. Same campus, same games (never have I ever…), same committee trail. Same week, but I’ll be organizing instead of participating, and experiencing as Introweek mum, instead of confused first year. Nothing will have changed, yet everything will be different. What happened? Time happened.