Like a butterfly half-emerged from its chrysalis the spring crowd looks towards summer as the people don a motley assortment of down coats, peacoats, T-shirts, and tanktops. Summer, an idea not quite materialized, is just beyond our reach as we push past the last week of classes to finals. Then another school year will be gone.
Writing this now, in the shade of the trees between Bobst and Stern, just steps from NYU’s busiest intersections, I contemplate the changes this year has brought. When I see the daily tours of prospective students, with parents entranced by Kimmel, Bobst, and Silver, I realize that I once also treated NYU with the same awe – awe of its great size and status. When I came to NYU for freshman orientation, I believed that college life could be analyzed and evaluated from a biblical perspective like a microorganism under a microscope. I did analyze college; I refined my faith. But the influx of people and experiences have shown me that the world is a multifarious place, far bigger than I ever thought, and that beyond even this university is the greater world of New York City and the international scene.
This larger world has since become familiar to me through daily experience. But I struggle to combine the university’s perspective of the world with that of the community I grew up in. Attempts to merge the two fail as they are reluctant to cross paths. Although both are interested in hearing news of the other, they do not want to meet. They cannot meet. and the world is forever divided before my eyes.
This is youth, when the children respect you and the adults still hover a step above you. This is youth, when the skies are clear and summer plans play off spring fantasies. This is youth, when without much care I can walk down 5th Avenue and Canal Street with friends beside me. This is youth, when life seems so beautiful and we’re filled with the hope for the greater joy that is to come.
Only the constant tension between worlds of commitment remains. But when we have moved out of this in-between age, these worlds — these very disparate worlds — will come together as we emerge from the chrysalis into the land of maturity.