College transience will not last, but it’s not always a bad thing

(Originally printed Feb. 17 2015 in the Independent Florida Alligator opinions section)

Ask anyone older than 35 and feeling judgmental — our generation is materialistic. We love owning and buying things. We adore massive quantities of, well, stuff.

Personally, I’m very susceptible to materialism. I get emotionally attached to items very easily.

From technological gadgets to clothing to simple knick-knacks, my generation has already started collecting items that are meaningful for their sentimental or monetary value.

How many times have you worn a shirt or an old pair of shoes that are special to you because you own them, because they hold a comforting story in the folds of their fabric?

Of course, there are problems that come with being a generation as materialistic as ours, but at this point it is pretty much a fact. So here is a thing to consider: When your life is built out of things, what happens when you come to college?

For most of my life, I lived in one house, in one neighborhood, in one town.

Packing up everything I owned into the car to come to UF was a sobering experience. My bags barely fit into my mom’s Prius, but there it was: everything in my life had been packed neatly into a compact, fuel-efficient, hybrid vehicle.

It’s easy to feel insignificant like that. It’s easy to feel swept away, pulled under by the tide of anonymity that rises as you drive up to college, as you move into your dorm for the first time, as you sit in your first lecture.

Boxing up my life that first time, and every time after in the four years of moving from place to place, reminds me of a serious lesson. In college, and for most of your young adult life, you live a transient existence.

You move every year. You might even move every semester. From dorm to apartment, from apartment to summer housing, from your hometown to your first new house, your years in college carry with them a daunting feeling of rootlessness.

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