Tonight, we are young

A conversation I had with a freshman the other day went something like this:

Freshman: What year are you?
Me: I’m a senior!
Freshman: Oh, are you thinking of applying here?


And I mean, I don’t blame her. Besides being five foot two and having a tiny face that is usually half obscured by hair, I simply don’t carry myself like a college senior. I’ve got the jaded, look-what-CMU-did-to-me part down pretty well, but the beaming confidence? the bright, knowledgeable eyes? the I’m-a-real-adult posture? I’ve got none of that.

It’s weird being in a position where I feel as if I’m watching all my friends growing up around me, taking on leadership roles in various organizations, discovering their passions, trying new things, and even accepting full-time job offers — while I sit here, scared, left behind, retreating into myself.

The crazy thing about this universe is that it’s just one universe, and there’s only one of each of us in it. And who knows, maybe there’s another universe, or a billion other universes, and a billion better versions of me, but the only me that I’ll ever be is the one in this world, the one that’s being created by every decision I make, the one who can’t rewind time even by one second, the one who could have been anyone, and could have done anything, but is just me, sitting here drinking beer and writing sad things.

It’s like we all started off at the same place, with an infinite number of futures ahead of us, but while everyone seemed to choose the right paths, I took a wrong turn somewhere. Four years ago, we were all at the brink of becoming great people. Four years later, I wish I could go back and try it again.

One of my best friends here started out as a physics major, just like me. We took all the same classes freshman year, but while 112 became the bane of my existence, programming came easy to him. By the next year, he had switched into electrical and computer engineering. Now he has two full-time job offers and several upcoming interviews on top of that. All I’ve got is a few unfinished, mediocre grad school applications.

My brother always stood on the sidelines during high school dances. But throughout college, he joined two dance companies and transformed into a talented dancer that I can barely even recognize on stage as the guy who once wore huge glasses and told me to give boys my number in the form of a system of equations. He went to college and got swag. I went to college and got awkward.

But I don’t know, maybe this just wasn’t my time. Maybe I’m just a late bloomer. I always feel as if it’s too late, as if at 21 years old I’ve already hit my peak, and that whatever I haven’t done yet will never get done. But like Marina Keegan said, “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious … We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

So I’ve decided that it’s only half-time. I can still win.


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