The harsh reality of Thanksgiving this year fell into the lap of repetition.With 30 place settings, 13 desserts, five tables, and two turkeys, my Thanksgiving was filled to the brim with several variations of the ubiquitous adjective, “good.”
“How is college?”
“How are your courses?”
“Do you like your friends?”
“How are your professors?”
The list goes on and on, and is heartbreakingly predictable. It may seem trite, but this redundancy has led me to a better understanding of my college career and how these four years are going to play out: good, all right, surviving, and we’ll see.
Three Thanksgivings ago during a typical November beach walk, my uncle explained to me his theory of the “tube” that is college. The college experience, he lectured, is a pipeline with a wide entrance that slowly narrows as the years pass by, as you hone in on genuine interests, as you near the end of the beginning and grow closer to being spurted out into reality. Freshman year to senior year, these four years hold so much potential to change and yet my response to the customary holiday inquiries will inevitably remain an alternative form of “good.”
However, I have noticed that as this tube becomes narrower and as the fundamental class requirements dwindle, the general description of college transitions from “good” and “standard” to an uncertain, but still “good,” forecast of one’s own future. College is a process of growth towards a future and each year offers to us a fresh obstacle, encouraging us to supposedly evolve and establish ourselves. Freshman year: adjustment and boredom; Sophomore year: injustice and confusion; Junior year: purpose and commitment; Senior year: self-doubt and fear.
“Good” is the word we use to describe something that we are either indifferent towards, unsure about, or shocked by. It has become a frozen, indistinct adjective that we fall back on when we are apprehensive about virtually anything. General acceptance of the word—the response of nodding heads, agreeable smiles, and supposedly curious raise of the eyebrows—continuously reinforces the idea that passion is not of the utmost importance when living life and that honesty is no longer a vital attribute of conversation. “Good” will always be there to catch you, a safety net of sorts, whether your current state is terror or tedium, but submitting to this pattern is shameful, especially during these golden years.
That being said, and as this holiday season is upon us, I look forward to seeing which synonyms I throw into my conversations with old friends and grandparents alike. Maybe I’ll surprise myself! And as for Freshman fall? Well, you can probably answer that one for me.