Life and Love

College: The perennial years

Perennial: something that is continuing or recurrent; enduring.

Sometimes I find a song and I am keenly aware it will mark a specific time in my life. It can be a popular song, but usually it’s obscure. It evokes a certain feeling I can’t seem to describe to anyone else.

For example, Agony from the live action version of Into the Woods will always bring me back to spring break my junior year of high school. The song has nothing to do with the experience I had that week, I just remember laughing at Chris Pine’s dancing with Maddie, and it happened to be during that song in the movie.

Obscure. Seriously.

I’m fast approaching my senior year of college, and while I don’t really understand how that happened so quick, I’m already fighting waves of nostalgia and fear of the future.

I’ve blocked out the “This is my last summer before I (hopefully) have a full-time job,” thought more times than I can count, but the realization that those lasts are coming yet again (didn’t I just graduate high school?) creeps in when I let my guard down.

And now we come to Baba O’ Riley by The Who. Yes, it’s the version remixed for Stranger Things. Citizens of the 80’s: I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

For my millennial counterparts (or maybe Gen Z. I really have no clue), listen to this song and tell me you don’t feel puffed up with MEMORIES and NOSTALGIA and ALL THE FEELINGS (It could very easily just be me, so no worries if I sound crazy).

I’ve always been one to attach my feelings to artwork, specifically music. I find it especially riveting when I can attach feelings to a song with no words (cue Leaving Hogwarts. I cry every time). This remix of Baba O’ Riley has lyrics, but not many, and it’s the buildup in the second half of the song that gets to me.

It’s so easy to close my eyes and picture a montage of my college years with that song in the background. The sounds are intense, purposeful, a perfect descriptive backdrop to how the last three years of my life have played out.

I’ve felt lost. I’ve felt found. I’ve been lonely. I’ve been loved. I have seen the worst of people. I have seen the best. It’s one end of the extreme to another.

I thought I was shaped into who I would forever be when I was in high school. Everyone told me then that “these are the defining years of your life.”

Let’s take a quick moment to thank the GOOD LORD ABOVE that wasn’t the case. College plucked that girl right out of the yard and threw her (set her down gently? Sometimes) to the other side of the hedge.

If I were to compare my college years to a plant (Haha, “if,” she says. I’m going to do it), I would choose lavender. Lavender is a perennial, which means it sprouts every year during the spring and summer from its roots, and it dies in the winter.

Not to be confused with lavender, I have not died every winter. I am very much alive and breathing. But, I have come face-to-face with some deep, difficult circumstances during my time in college. They left me down to my root, to the faith and handful of people I can cling to while God works out my details.

Subsequently, I arose every spring, discovering deep friendships, wisdom, and experiences while trusting that God will pull me through every winter, feeding my roots for another fruitful season.

I don’t know what is next for me. But, with all that lies behind me at Missouri State, I am hopeful and expectant that my final year and life beyond college will be nothing short of… lavender.

For now, I’ll turn on Baba O’ Riley, close my eyes, and watch the slideshow in my head.


By laurenstockam

Lauren is a graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

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