K-State begins its Fall 2016 semester today. Folks scurry about with their heads in their phones as if Pokémon Go has made a Kansas comeback. This time, it’s likely maps and Google walking directions over chasing a cartoon parade.
With an open door, I’ve met many students today – people looking to find their way and start well.
Some freak out. Some are so burdened by the bags of stuff they carry, I wonder how they manage to walk. Some seem excited as they begin this adventure.
I’m most concerned about the people who look confused, stressed, lost…and do not ask for help.
Haven’t we been there…confused, stressed, and lost?
What keeps us from asking for help? Ego? Fear? Misplaced belief we must be perfect?
Each start of the new semester, I am reminded to ask for help.
For whatever reason, a few students each first day crash in – panicked and lost – so stressed out they forget their kindness and how grace is often extended in the new year.
Today, one new student was so stressed and still so very kind, I walked out of the building and onto the main walking corridor to best point the way.
I’ve been able to listen, direct, encourage, and educate. I’ve suggested folks download the K-State mobile app (http://www.k-state.edu/app/) several times.
I want handy way-finding.
Especially as I’ve been confused, lost, and bogged down by carrying too much without asking for help.
There is no legitimate shame in not knowing. Classes and college are great reminders we can grow with effort and attention. And like college, many of us shift our major plans from one thing to another as we learn more about ourselves, the world, and what is needed.
The greater “shame” (as in, “isn’t it a shame”) is to stumble-tumble into the mire of a situation without asking for help or entertaining a change of direction.
When I was a college student, I was on the pay-as-you-go-plan and every class meant either a move to an identifiable end or a detour…or worse a distraction. I’m again in that “pay-as-you-go” lifestyle and weigh each decision heavily.
Perhaps I shouldn’t.
Perhaps I should allow the questions and uncertainties to make themselves known. I can learn to welcome course corrections rather than fear them.
We can learn to love the fresh start rather than dread it.
Today is a fresh start. It is full of wonder whether I acknowledge it or not. I don’t need to know everything (or anything) today. I do need to keep going. Keep growing. Keep looking for hints of hope and wonder along the way.
Derring do can be tough.
We’re in this together and I’m calling for your help. Wisdom and opportunity – a place to give my all and have the chance to put some resources away for a rainy day or adventure. Way-finding in an uncertain world.