Finding my people

Have you ever known something in your heart which your mind took a bit longer to articulate?

Had dinner with one of my college mates this week and tossed out names and stories from the days when we would eat dinners on retro colored trays every night at Brooks Dining Hall. I noted that college mate was a senior when I met her and I was merely a wise fool, all of 1.25 semesters into my college education. My sophomore year of school was one of my most personally tumultuous but, by far the best academically. I was thinking that it was almost unfair that College Mate came to know me when I was still finding my way, and unfortunate that she was more or less out the door. I don't think the person I was my sophomore year represents my best self. And it's not because I became something super sensational henceforth, able to spin fine china on sticks while reciting the book of Isaiah backwards and forwards. It's just that I was only beginning to find my people.

And say what you will about college as a place to refine your interests and stay up late and pull amazing things off on very little sleep and discover new music and new talents -- it is very well all those things. But in its most simplest function, I would argue that college is all about finding your people.

When you find your people, your posse of hallmates with whom you jive, the one or two professors who inspire you, you find a bit of yourself. You find your confidence. Ultimately, you find your path. Even finding one person on campus whose name you know and whose crooked walk while carrying an umbrella you recognize from a mile away but whom you will never have a conversation with because that's not the point. The point is that you find that person interesting and you're glad to know that he/she is there, because he/she is one of the people you found on campus, and just by his/her being there, your college experience is more complete.

It took me a long time to find my people in college. My search was somewhat stunted because I had found my people late in high school, but those people, I would come to realize, were about finding other people in college. As they should. My sophomore year, I became an RA and among the pool of responsible, creative, nerdy, whimsical RAs, I found a few of my people. Two of these people read this blog today (Hi Petie, Hi Haddy) and I consistently congratulate myself on finding them and keeping in touch with them, because they are good good people, people who accept you at face value, people whom I look up to immensely, people who know that you just went through a break-up and send you cards that read: Boys are stupid. We learned that in kindergarten.

The next year of school, I found more of my people, specifically people whom my kids will call Auntie Spas and Auntie Walley. One of whom my kids will call Dad.


December 2000