January 23, 2022.
For those of you here since I started this blog as I stumbled through grad school, it’s been a while; but wherever you are now, thanks for hanging around. For those new readers, welcome to Sundays with You. Sundays with You was simply a grad school project that I put together because I had to. Part time grad school, part time work, full time person in distress. Why not start a blog and give others advice… right? What Sundays with You became though was a place where I could give myself advice. A place where I could talk through my struggles and rationalize them as if I was giving advice to the readers. Writing became my escape from a world that was fascinating, yes, but just not fascinating to me. I finally found an outlet to address, and then express, years of emotions I had held in. It was, at times, freeing. But still… difficult. Because let’s be honest, I do not live a very exciting life. Some might go as far to say that I am boring. What am I going to continue to write about that not only helps me, but possibly helps others from time to time. So, what did I do? I dug deeper into my past to try and find unsolved emotions that I could write about. As I hope most of you can assume, that is not a good idea. Now, not only am I trying to complete my last year of grad school, supervise a freshman residence hall in the midst of a pandemic, and job searching across the entire country… but I am very emotional 90% of the time (very much unlike me) because I am trying to analyze why I was sad 12 years ago and turn it into a blog post.
If I am going to be honest, I was also very much engulfed in a wannabe hero complex. I had done so much good work for a university, that I had convinced myself that I could save any student there if given the chance. That somehow, if they needed to be saved, I would find them. And that is great, until it isn’t, and you don’t save them all. The atmosphere on a college campus when it loses a student is one that cannot be explained. It doesn’t matter how, or why. What matters is that the community, no matter how good, will feel some shade of empty for the foreseeable future.
Working in housing on a college campus has been an experience that I have deeply loved yet one that I would jump at the chance to go back and never do. It gets hard. And the “rewarding” moments you do get, the ones you worked an entire year for with a population, are often fleeting only to remind you that the new academic year is quickly approaching. I say that to say, it’s a feeling that I have come to need. Regardless of the bad we see year after year; the suicidal ideation, the struggle, the confusion, and the doubt. For me, the little moments of success SOME HOW continue to make it “worth it.”
Now, nearly a year after my last post. I sit in a bit of a different situation than when we last spoke. As I sit in a freshman residence hall at the University of Dayton, where I oversee a building with nearly 700 first year students who have known nothing but a pandemic for the past two years and are now thrown into one of the most pivotal developmental years of their lives… I can’t help but be glad I gave up on wanting to be President. But really, it’s fun, for so many reasons. Seeing four people in an apartment living on their own for their first times is hilarious, now make it 650 in one building. Hoping that all of them are finding their place and doing “ok”, however, not so hilarious. How do you even find the ones who may never admit to be struggling and, even harder, get them to have a conversation with you without them thinking they did something wrong? How do you find ways and time to celebrate all of the wins that deserve to be celebrated? The answer is you don’t. You never can, truly, save everyone and it doesn’t seem like we spend near enough time celebrating the good. I’m not even sure you can save anyone, honestly. Give someone a chance to save themselves, maybe? But I would say maybe, at best.
So, here I am pulling this blog out once more. Hoping that Sundays with You can become what it was for me, to whoever else might need it as well. Each week I will post Sundays with You and with it a message to walk away with; whether that be through an activity, a life lesson, a challenge, or a mere conversation. Maybe the conversation that you needed to have that week, but just didn’t get to. To do that, I look to each of you for support. Thankfully, I have so many friends/previous colleagues who bring so much knowledge and potential support to the table. Friends who also understand that everyone needs at least some support… all of the time.
I was nervous to start this. Probably because part of that superhero complex still remains. I want to have an impact everywhere it is needed, and that just isn’t possible. What is possible though, is getting back to feeling like myself and doing things that make me feel…like me. And writing is one of those things! So, while each week I will ask you all for a response to my post, I instead will give you a current favorite lyric of mine from Better Days by Dermot Kennedy.
“I know you’ve been hurtin’
Waitin’ on a train that just won’t come
The rain, it ain’t permanent
And soon, we’ll be dancin’ in the sun”
And if you do find yourself waiting on a train, maybe come back next week. For now, thank you for letting me spend this Sunday with You.
-Colin Lane Croat