Growing Up

Nobody ever really talks about growing up. I mean really talks about it. I’ve always wondered what the twenties would be like. What is it like to attend college? To make lifelong ‘college friends’. What is it like to graduate? To move into your adult life. Adulthood comes to greet you when you least expect it. Time is a progressive force that doesn’t stop for you or anyone.

In high school, I felt as if I was still a kid until college applications made me ask the question of what I wanted to do with my life. What did I want to do? I felt like I caught up to my age once I asked that question. And so too with graduation. As we are all approaching the next part of our life, we start catching up with the reality of independent, financial, emotional living. Adulthood comes to greet you with a scythe asking you what it’s going to be: graduate school, job, break, stay at home, travel, become a nomad. We believe we aren’t ready, that we don’t know what to do, yet we all take the step forward, plunging into chaos hoping. We end up trusting ourselves, the skills that we possess that we don’t feel like we possess. We swallow our doubtful thoughts, “Did all those classes really amount to anything?” The whole world encourages forward. Time, the mover, acts on your very physicality as you traverse the myth of life.

I am swept into this mirage and this reality. Sometimes it feels like I’m living both, but always grounded in reality. While I stay an extra year, all my college friends will be graduating. Some are entering PhD programs, some Master’s, and some without a pre-formed path made by society, instead sculpting their own. There is no one way to traverse all of this, in the 21st century modern America. I anticipate, hope, and pray for their lively essence; that the step forward they’ve entrusted themselves to will bring happiness, tranquility, and growth.

All you can ever do is try your best. To give your all to everything that you do and to do the things you do, with heart and intention. Befriend the world around you, you’re going to be here a while. It’s always better to have companions. At the core we need love.

One year at Columbia has passed, the college I dreamed of going to four years ago, when I came to visit the school. Was it all I ever dreamed of? I have learned an incredible amount of knowledge from my professors. Specifically demystifying the physical world around us. I have learned how materials are found in our everyday lives, from the steel for toasters, ceramics for our stovetops, composites for skiis, metal alloys for our airplanes, trains, and engines, and cement that paves our roads. Every single physical object we interact with has a story and industry behind it. I have learned how these materials can be engineered or ‘man-made’ through manufacturing processes, how they behave and grow on an atomic scale. I have learned the ways in which we probe the atomic world to create technology for our macroscopic world.

I do believe that after one more year, I will be ready. Ready to enter society as an adult, to build a career of helping people, and to take the leap of faith into the vast unknown, charting my own path. I want to use my capacity to learn and to understand difficult concepts to build a product that can improve the livelihoods of people, solve our massive environmental problems, and create a world that we all want to live in. To befriend this world, this earth, and everyone and everything in it. Beauty enshrouds every object we have the privilege of viewing. Here, is a gift.

In one month, I will fly to India.