Hey guys! I am (surprisingly) still alive, and I think I might start a journal series about my transition to college. Hopefully it will be interesting/ helpful to whoever may happen upon it. If not… then at least I think it will be helpful to me.
Last year, I felt like I was a part of an inhumane social experiment. For most people, senior year is your last year with all your friends in high school. For me, it was my first year to be homeschooled full time, making it my first year without my friends in high school.
Now, I did still have friends–good friends– but my friends have a nasty habit of moving to different continents and filling their schedules up, so there wasn’t a ton of interaction. I spent the vast majority of my waking moments hunched over my laptop in the corner of my room, trying to get through the work to finish the year.
But I made it through. More than that, I made it into Boston University, which I am told is an accomplishment. What exactly does this entail? Well, for one thing, I am going to be surrounded by people. A LOT of people. And these people– in general– have a different belief system than the one I grew up with. To say the very least.
As you can imagine, I feel as if I’m jumping from a freezer to a boiling hot vat. Okay, that’s an odd metaphor, but you get the idea. It’s a transition. For one year, I spent most of my time alone. Next year, I’m not sure I’ll hardly EVER be alone. For most of my life, I’ve lived in a very conservative, very religious community. Next year… that won’t so much be the case. That may be the biggest change.
Back home, the waters were easier to navigate. You read the Bible every day and never questioned it… or traditional interpretations of it. You never swore or used the Lord’s name in vain. You tried to date “the Godly way” (which usually meant kissing dating good-bye). You never talked about sexuality, and if you did, you referenced the Bible in every sentence. Men were men. Women were women. There was no in between, no changing.
Basically, there were several unspoken norms and rules you never challenged. If you did, people still loved you, but there were consequences. Everyone thought I was a wonderful person. Because I scarcely challenged the rules. Out loud.
In my head. I challenged all of them. Every last one.
The thing is, I learned the script. I knew what to say and when, what to believe. I knew the beliefs that would keep everyone happy with me. It was easy, and I played along.
Now I’m leaving that world, and I’m discovering something very important. My old social script is useless. Of course, I’d guessed that, but I didn’t guess that I wouldn’t have a script at all anymore. At a place like BU, where there are people from all sorts of religions, beliefs, and backgrounds, there is nothing you can say that will make them all happy. Maybe some statements will make most of them happy, but not all.
In this situation, I have a few options:
- I can stick to the old script, which I never completely liked and most of the people I come across in Boston REALLY won’t like. Scratch that plan.
- I can try really hard to find a new script at BU. I think I’ve already discussed why I don’t think this will work.
- I can find my own convictions and stick to them no matter who I offend. I like this plan best, even though it’s the hardest to execute.
So great. I’m going to construct my own system of morality. I have one… partially. See, throughout the process of searching through what I believe, I came across a monumental realization: growing up in the community I did, where morals were all but decided for you, it’s very hard to have convictions of your own.
That’s right. In a place infused with family values, strong religion, and unity of beliefs, personal convictions become an endangered species. Not extinct. Endangered.
Although I love the people I grew up with, sometimes I grew frustrated when they repeated their parents’ political beliefs verbatim when I asked who they would vote for. Or when they wouldn’t challenge a teacher on something wrong. Though the truth is, I did it, too.
Now it’s time to explore new morals, compare and contrast, and decide which beliefs are really mine. I’ve discovered a world out there where gender is non-binary, people evolved from monkeys, and inclusion is of upmost importance. I don’t know how much I agree and disagree with this world yet, but I’m going to find out.
I can see your eyes bugging out at the end of this, homeschoolers. 🙂 Wish me luck.