Like most people, I associate the term “growing up” with being a child or being childlike and moving into adulthood. But if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, we are constantly going through that process even in full adulthood. There are always new truths that reveal themselves to us that bring us to a more mature plane. And as the years go by, we tend to forget the pains of going through the transformation from childhood to adulthood which is easier for some, and not quite as easy for others.
This previous weekend, I spent a good amount of time with a niece who I first met 14 years ago as a very quiet and shy girl. She has blossomed into a comely young lady and is getting ready to enter college. I can’t help but marvel at her transformation through the years. She is suddenly all grown up and almost a full adult — and at the threshhold of a very important transition into a new world.
It’s a very exciting and scary time — having come from a very sheltered upbringing and being in an all-girl’s school and now entering a coed university. Just like I did many years ago. You worry about how you will do.. will you enjoy your new world… how will you fare.. how do you stop being so self-conscious in the company of the opposite sex.. So many questions and the clock is ticking to the first day of school.
I told her she’ll be fine. My college years were a very enjoyable period for me — not without the drama and the growing pains that life is generally peppered with — but you take both the good and the bad. And as it is with most things, it takes making it to the end of the journey for us to see we didn’t do so bad after all — or that all the sacrifices, conservative / strict parents included, will serve a purpose in our adult life later on.
For some, making new friends or surviving in a room full of strangers is second nature. I would normally stay quiet, observe, and speak when spoken to, or strike a conversation with the person next to me. But I was never wont to take center stage. (I usually did that much later. HA!) I remember it was difficult for me to get comfortable with my male classmates but when you see them day in and day out, they become your buddies. In fact by my second year in college, I was the only girl in a group of around 6 boys who all loved to drink the afternoon away, but who would be gentlemanly enough to order me my soda for each round of beer they had brought to the table.
Because they all drove, even if they were in another part of the campus, they would come back for me at lunch time so we could have authentic Chinese food at the original “Estero” in Binondo. That or we would descend upon a favorite Chinese restaurant near Roxas Boulevard.
The business side of going to the university was also very different from high school. It was the same that it wasn’t. Everything seemed to be a foot or two deeper, and in many ways more complicated and profound, hence, a little harder. But that was the whole thing about being in college — to learn more and to actually acquire the knowledge needed to hone your abilities and skill sets.
Talking to my niece made me go back to how terrifying that phase was at times. It wasn’t always