Not What You Expected

 
Have you ever noticed how things almost never turn out to be what you think they'll be?

Sometimes they're better. Sometimes they're worse. Sometimes they're neither. But they're almost always different.

You know what I mean?

Maybe you really wanted to take US history this semester only the particular course you wanted was full so you ended up taking geology instead because there was room and it fit in your schedule. So you griped all spring and summer about how it sucks that you couldn't get the class you wanted but it turns out that geology totally rocks (yeah, sorry about that) and now you're thinking you might major in it.

Or maybe a few nights ago a slice of chocolate cake caught your eye as soon as you walked into Dana for dinner. And you glanced at it longingly while you worked your way through some pasta and a green salad. Then finally, having disposed of the last carrot in your salad bowl, you took that much anticipated first bite of the cake only to find that it was a little dry and not nearly as chocolaty as it looked.

Or maybe you let your roommate talk you into going to hear the band playing in LoPo a few weeks ago only it turned out to be a comedian but she was pretty funny so, you know, it was cool.

I'm bringing this up because it's the middle of October and every year around this time I find myself thinking about how the semester is unfolding and realizing - again - that things just aren't how I thought they'd be when the term started. And I'm guessing that if this is how I'm feeling there is probably a decent chance that you're feeling this way too.

Maybe you're two books behind in English. Or your best friend from last year is the worst possible roommate you could have chosen. Or you didn't get the part you wanted in the fall theater production. Or you went to the College Democrats meeting just because you're a government major and it's an election year and you wanted to find out more about who's running for congress in Maine only somehow you ended up running a voter registration drive. Or you're not getting as much playing time in soccer as you expected. Or, you know, any one of a hundred other things that are different about this year than what you expected. And now that you realize it you're wondering what to do.

It's easy to get frustrated when things go astray. It's easy to feel like it - whatever it is – isn't fair. And to want to make excuses or blame someone or something else. It's okay to feel those things. We all do.

But they also don't really change anything, you know? And eventually there's still the question about what you're going to do.

Here's the good news. The answer is actually pretty simple.

Adjust.

I don't mean that in a harsh way. I don't mean adjust as in stop whining and deal with it.

I mean embrace your reality. You get to change your course. You get to try a different way. You get to do new things.

Okay, there's no easy way around the getting caught up in English. Still there are worse things than reading two really good books, right? (Work with me here, okay?)

And you and your roommate are best friends. You'll figure it out.

Yeah, not getting a part in the play is a drag. But now you have time to get the radio show you've wanted to do. Or to learn how to organize a voter registration drive. Or spend more time in the weight room. Or volunteering at the homeless shelter. Or writing poetry or songs or whatever.

Or ask for help.  There are lots of us who are here just to help you figure things out from time to time.

You've got this.

Adjust.

And enjoy it.

Have you ever thought about how cool it is that things almost never turn out to be what you think they'll be?

Jim Terhune
Dean of Students


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