Student Voices: A Page from My Musings – A Subtle Transformation | Work of Arts
Student Voices: A Page from My Musings – A Subtle Transformation | Work of Arts

Student Voices: A Page from My Musings – A Subtle Transformation

by | March 11, 2014
Photography by Collins Maina
Arts Cohort leader Collins Maina reflects on his transition between first and second year, and the resulting transformation and growth.

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author. 

Time. The passage of time feels different to every organism on earth — some weeks feel shorter, others feel longer, and a special few times appear to be a simultaneous combination of the two. Similarly, the university experience is a period of warped time. I may only be a second year undergraduate student with plenty of wiser people who surround me on a daily basis, but in this I’d like to think that I am somewhat knowledgeable; time in university moves fast, despite how painfully slow these winter days seem to pass by.

It’s quite difficult to fathom that after the end of this semester I will officially be halfway through my degree. Two more years and I’ll be done. Two more years and I will technically be in my fourth year of “adulthood.” This is scary (yet exciting). The idea that I’m already an adult pretty much supporting myself still takes me by surprise. I often think of how shocked a version of myself from two years ago would be if we were to meet today.

A Page From my Musings Image - Collins Maina (Oregon 2013)
Photo (taken by Collins Maina): View of a hiking trail in Oregon that inspired this post

Many would argue that personal change is hugely significant between one’s first and fourth years, and I completely agree with this argument. Others would argue that this change wasn’t as significant for them, but I would like to assert that everyone’s experiences vary. Personal transformations between the years, such as from first to second, may be subtle but are evident.

First year – a ‘dream-like’ transition

I have been singing this sentiment to all my close friends this year: first year was a dream-like state. I can’t generalize this for everyone, but this one year, which marked a spike on my radical change chart, appears to be a blur of time when I think back to it now. Vivid colors of summer, tinged with green and gold, new faces, new class experiences, foreign buildings blurred into oranges and yellows, and then a cold, constant white. I can easily remember my year through my experiences and less through the formal calendar. This has now evolved into a more vivid vision of familiar buildings, faces and learning methods.

I think about my past and realize that if I have made it this far in just two years, there is no need to be worried about the next two, four or even 20 years.

Second year reality creeps in

This year is marked by priorities, personal and academic schedules, strengthening goals and ambition, and the hard work that ties it all together. If I was asked to put my second year experience, so far, in one line, it would definitely be “Spontaneity but Structure.” This is my version of the “balance” all students strive for. I recently realized that despite my “roll with the punches” personality, it is important to have some form of structure in order to increase your academic productivity and spontaneity in your social and extracurricular life as a student. So far it seems to be working for me. Equipped with my determination and some newly found systems to living, my ever increasing goals are not only visible, they are achievable.

I don’t know what the future holds for me or us as students. We will all go our separate ways, but we all just have to take it as it comes. So even when it may seem scary to “grow up,” “be an adult,” or live in the “real life” (outside of university), I think about my past and realize that if I have made it this far in just two years, there is no need to be worried about the next two, four or even 20 years. There will be difficulties, challenges, successes and failures but to rehash Nietzsche’s famous line, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

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About Collins Maina

Collins Maina

Collins Maina is the cohort leader/ programmer on the Arts Leadership Cohort in the Lister Centre residence. He is currently undertaking his double major undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science. Collins lived on the cohort last year, which is what inspired him to take the lead and become the programmer on the floor this year. He gained a lot of valuable experiences and lessons through his involvement, something he is sure will be strongly present this year too, and he would like to share these experiences as his journey on this specialty floor carries on. Collins is a firm believer that everyone has a story worth listening to and that life is a series of challenges that we choose to grow from or not. He chooses to grow; thus he looks forward to the upcoming year where he will be working with and studying in the Faculty of Arts.