When I need a brief escape from life, I often turn to the great out of doors. I’m not exactly why, but something about being out in nature, away from most of life’s distractions, for a few hours relaxes me and gives me a chance to really reflect on life. Every time I go hiking, I feel like there’s one big takeaway from the expedition.
My most recent trip proved no exception. The main attraction for this latest trail lies at the top of a mountain, a grand vantage point that has a beautiful view of the land below. The hike up is also pretty, filled with lots of wonderful sights around the lower portions of the mountain.
The hike up takes place on a very meandering path. The trail on the lower part of the mountain regularly pulls a 180 and cuts back on itself. Honestly, the amount of turns and doubling back started to irritate me. Why must this trail be so confusing? Why can’t we just go up already? I knew the peak held amazing things and I wanted to get there at a quicker pace than the trail allowed.
After a moment or two of internal grumbling, I realized how silly my complaint was. The whole point of that trip was to meander about. I came to spend time away from busyness and to take in some beautiful sights. Sure, the peak promised the most beautiful sights, but the path to get to it held promises of its own.
And then I also realized how analogous that trail is to the past few years for me.
College has not been a quick four years and done for me. I went through half a dozen majors before I found one that stuck. And once I did, I cut back on school because of work, adding to my time needed to graduate. I finally went back as a full-time student last fall to knock out more classes and, outside of something absurd happening, I should graduate next spring after six long, hard years. Six very meandering years.
While college lacks the same scenery of the trail, I feel the experiences share a few big similarities. The years spent outside of my major have still helped me to some degree, even if it wasn’t for the one I was looking for. Bad puns aside, this time in college has helped shape me. I’ve grown a lot in my time at college and I’ve learned a good deal, even from classes that were tossed out when I changed majors.
I’m still ready to finish college, don’t get me wrong. I will party it up when I receive that very expensive piece of paper. But I’ve slowly started seeing the “wasted” years in a new light. They weren’t squandered, as I’m sometimes inclined to think. Rather, I feel so strongly they were used to prepare me for something, for whatever’s around the corner. The path leading to it has not always been easy or straightforward, but I know I’ve been on it for a reason.