I still remember my first time in Oklahoma. I remember sitting in the airport with a future classmate and good friend. We talked about our undergraduate experience and our degrees and our desire to be in student affairs.
I remember the dark drive in a university van. The state was so empty, with so many opportunities. At the time, I could not begin to imagine how familiar I would become with this stretch of Interstate-35 and State Highway 51.
One thing that stands out to me, beyond many other things, was the wind. I remember walking in the Willard parking lot and holding my arms out like wings and feeling the wind in my face, brushing the corners of my coat up like I was Dick Tracy or Neo in the Matrix, or something of that ilk.
I remember thinking that the wind would blow everything away. That a new start was coming my way, in a new place, with new people. Maybe I spent too long listening to Augustana sing about how they wanted to go to a new life to start all over again. Sometimes our culture safeguards this idea that all you have to do is go to a new place and everything will be okay. It will all work out just fine.
Over the last two years, I have learned that one does just start over anew when they move. Something my uncle once said has begun to ring in my ears like clocktower bells. “You can’t just run from your problems, because they always catch up with you.” A new place with new people does not the individual changes automatically. The wind does not just blow everything away. Because you are the same person in every place.
But you have the chance to change. To become better. I think over the last two years I have become a lot better in many ways. I am a lot more patient, I have a lot more endurance to going places alone. I cook better, I have more knowledge, I understand how to use my resources.
I have changed so much in ways I never anticipated, but I have had to work at that change. I have had to isolate and identify areas for growth and work against my nature to make those things happen.
What do you need to change, and why is it a challenge?