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Monday, March 3, 2014

"On the Cusp of Manhood"

  • ·        “Inspired by … The house that built me” by Miranda Lambert

Trepidation filled Alex’s arrival to college.   A recent high school graduate, he felt ill-prepared for the challenge for which he was about to confront.  All his life, as far back as he could remember, he had lived in the same town with his family and friends there beside him.

He arrived at the college for freshmen orientation.  His father and his mother came with him on the seven hour trip up the coast.  There to celebrate this new beginning, they supplied to him parental assurances that all would be well.

Alex had many friends in high school, but all of them had chosen other colleges to attend.  He had yearned to go far away to college, away from everybody that he ever knew, and to make friends while building a life. 

During the drive up from his hometown, he was silent.  He listened to music on the radio while looking out the window as his father surveyed the road on the long journey.

It was now time.  It was now time for his parents to leave and for him to begin his new life.  He was alone in a venue to which he was unfamiliar, but was meeting the challenge with bravery.  He noticed the multitude of college freshmen sharing the same adventure.  However, he felt very alone.  He was completely unaware that many of other in-coming college students were feeling the same nervousness.  The foreboding faces surrounding him numbed his senses.

Family by family got into their cars, leaving the new college freshmen alone in the college dorms to somehow make friends with people they had just met.  They were confronted with the task of living with strangers who, in years to come, would be considered some of their best friends.

With carefree gusto, the roommates gathered in their apartments.  It was nearly sundown and all the parents were in their cars on the drive back to wherever they had come.  The freshmen, three by three and five by five, sat down together.  Newly introduced strangers, they ate dinner with each other.

The time had approached for the ageless ritual of high school graduates freshly attending college.  The introductions were made and the strangers spent the rest of the night familiarizing with each other with cheap beer that they had purchased at the liquor store down the street.   The festivities included the five roommates as well as other college co-eds in the nearby apartments.

Alex had spent his first night at the college dorms.   It was not nearly as threatening as he feared.  He had talked with friends and neighbors and he felt the ominous haze lift from them all.  Young college girls had attended the party along with his roommates and other college freshmen at the dorms.  He woke up early in the morning energetic.  The Sun shined upon the dorms and he went to the dining commons to have breakfast.  A neighbor girl met up with him and they shared breakfast with one another.  College life did not seem nearly as daunting as he thought it would.

Alex spent the rest of his freshmen year at the dorms with his roommates and neighbors.  The strangers became acquaintances and then became friends.  The girls that he met he began to know better and he found a girlfriend. 

The parties became less frequent as the college students found their own routines.  Many of the college freshmen found part-time work and most of them began to bury themselves in their school-work. 

The relationship that Alex had formed with his the neighbor girl stayed trivial, without much meaning.  Although she was beautiful and he enjoyed the time spent with her, he knew it was transitory. 

As a college freshman, newly out of high school, Alex’s arrival to college had been intimidating.  However, he had been quick to make friends.  The scholastic burden of college, which he had thought would be a far more difficult mission, had been less chilling than he thought it would.  His acclimation to the new environment, far away from home, had been easily facilitated with worries that quickly vanished.

As an adult, 20 years later, Alex often looked back to his time in college.  His time in college had been a growth experience and, more so, were his times in the freshmen dorms. 

In addition to the college degree that he earned which virtually assured him a prosperous life, he also grew to manhood.  The college scenario facilitated the journey as he was able to choose his own terms by which to live.   As an 18 year old man fresh out of high school, Alex had been nervous and unsure of himself; fraught with all of the trifles that face young people.  However, upon graduation he had become free from these insecurities and now had direction in his life as well as in confidence in everything that he did.

After his freshmen year he lived with a few of his friends that he had made in the dorms.  With high school behind him, these were now his best friends.  He lived with his dorm friends for two years and finally was able to get a small-studio apartment to live alone. 

All of college was a time for fun, a time for camaraderie, and a time for growing up.  However, upon reflecting on his time in college, Alex would think most of his time at the dorms.  He would recollect his arrival and meeting up with strangers he had never before seen.  He would also recollect the time that these people became his friends.  Most of all he would remember the maturity he gained and the confidence that was found that later would bring him success in every aspect of his life.

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