[As I troll through my digital archives, piecing together memories of Scott for a brain that often fails to remember the more mundane details of life (it’s those details that I think not only help provide context to what actually does matter, but also trigger memories that might be otherwise buried unreachable in my subconscious), I find things that I think are worth remembering. I hope no one minds me sharing them.]
If you asked me nowadays, I would tell you that, despite the tragedy of a certain day, I wouldn’t trade my college years in New York for anything. If nothing else, they clarified my love of the city (a term which, by the way, can only refer to one place) and left me with many fond memories–of people, places, and things, and a siren-like call to return.
What I wouldn’t tell you is that when I first started college there, I was not enamored of the place at all, nor of its people: the inhabitants that composed the visual and auditory (and olfactory) concerto accompanying life in the city, and my peers in school. In retrospect, the effects of withdrawal afflicted me: not feeling like I was connecting with anyone and missing the friends I had made in high school (friendships that endure to this day, by the way), I considered transferring to Champaign–a move that, in retrospect, would have caused me to miss out on many defining experiences, not the least of which being making Mr. Swanson’s acquaintance.
I stuck with Cooper, with New York, though, encouraged by words of wisdom one of my friends, Doug, only a year older than I, imparted to me:
Well, the emotional, needy part of me would tell you: “You can always transfer to Pomona, phreak!”
But the part of me that realises its important for you to thrive where you are, gain new experiences, and grow in ways that you need to grow, completely separate from my world tells me to tell you: “Trust me, Anthony. The first semester of college is really hard for emotional people, because you’re used to having those close bonds you developed at IMSA be there for you, and they seem like they’ve always been there; so it’s upsetting when you don’t immediately have them at college.
“And what it’s important to realise, is that -healthy- relationships that most people are used to consist of time, and growing, and getting to know one another slowly, and not -depending- on each other for your necessary emotional base-stability. Andt that takes time to learn and get accustomed to. And that’s okay. And it’ll hurt for a while. And that’s what e-mail to your imsa friends is for. That’s what entertaining the notion of transferring to UofI is for. Those are all there to help you get through the first semester, until the time has passed to when you can really develop stable, real, mature, and healthy relationships with stable, real mature, and healthy people around you.
“So take care and comfort, Anthony. Know that those who were there before won’t desert you, and know that better, closer, and healthier ones will come eventually – but that’s something that has to come, and can’t be hurried or rushed.”
Eventually, those friendships did come, and I stayed on, embracing all that the city offered me. But it could have turned out much differently…I’m glad I didn’t try to find out.