Student to Student: Growth

For most, this year has been a boiling pot of overwhelming emotions. used to wake up with so much heaviness on my heart and tell myself: I hope the pain of this past year is not wasted.

Then I would drag myself out of bed and look in the mirror. But first, always, my eye catches the small obituary card of my grandfather that passed away from COVID in April. Again, I think: How tragic it would be to suffer so much and gain so little. What I’ve come to learn is there is purpose for the season you’re in.

Like the seasons, life has radiant, sunshiny days where you feel as though you’re invincible. Nothing can touch the contentment of those moments—nothing can deter the stars in your eyes. Yet there’s also terrible, bitter-cold days where you feel trapped and dreary with no optimism for what’s ahead. It is in both types of days where growth is present. It is in the breathless hug received from a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, and the feeling of accomplishment from trying your hardest on an exam (even if you didn’t get the score you wanted). And it is also in the sobs of heartbreak, the times you feel disconnected from those around you. 

Growth is romanticized as being something that produces more. In our society, it’s associated with abundance: more wealth, friends, a promotion. But the truth is that growth requires tough losses, shifts, conversations, and even disappointing others by choosing you. So don’t cancel the year that finally woke you up because it’s not making room to add more in your life. Sometimes growth involves shedding and letting go—a transformation amidst uncertainty. 

Whoever is reading this, I challenge you to let this be the season you make the choice to embrace growth despite the hardship and uncomfortability that accompanies it. Know that you are free to change, learn, and be at peace even here in the unknown.