The power of a song: A freshman experience

“Even my friends and family are drifting away

I feel anxious as time passes by

It feels like I’m all by myself

I hope everything disappears when I’m alone

I hope things disappear like a mirage

I hope things disappear

I hope my damn self disappears

I’m abandoned like this in the world

In this moment I’m drifting away from the sky

I’m falling…”

“So Far Away”- Agust D (Suga of BTS) ft. SURAN (translated)

When I listen to this song it makes me realize that everything I have felt since I got from Thanksgiving break is nothing new. Ever since then I have noticed so many things that started to change and not in the most positive way. My friends became distant and there was so much tension that I honestly didn’t know why things like this are happening. All my hopes of finding friends I can go to feel better have gone out the window and once again the feeling of being alone has come back to haunt me. Because of this, I was no longer motivated to do anything, to make matters worse it’s the end of the semester and I there is no way of stopping now, I have finals to study for and work that needs to be done. But then again, I asked myself, if I don’t have the motivation to do any work, what is the point of doing it if I wouldn’t put my all into it like I did before I left for Thanksgiving break? I felt alone once again in this cruel world and I had started to think that this was all my fault. I felt like I had found the reason why I am not so social anymore. All I wanted was to have friends and enjoy the wonders of college life with them, but I was starting to see that whenever I tried to put in the effort for a “stable” friendship, it all goes downhill. There was no point in crying over people who probably never cared in the first place (or at least that is what I thought), but at the same time I never really put in my part to tell them how I felt because I didn’t want to feel like a “burden”, so you can see how this gets complicated. So I didn’t really know what to feel any more at the time, I couldn’t say that I was completely happy nor was I completely sad, I was just stuck and I didn’t know what to do… At this point, everything was building up and my desperation started to get stronger, knowing very well that holding everything in was not going to change anything, I did the one thing that I never thought I would have the courage to do, which was reaching out for help. It was extremely hard opening up to someone but it actually helped me relieve so much weight off my chest and I for once felt the little bit of hope that was left in me I didn’t know I had.

In the same manner, the way a song can portray a bigger meaning through expressive lyrics like from the song from above, in literature, epigraphs can have the same impact when it comes to stories. Epigraphs are essentially one sentence or set of sentences in a story to introduce or give more meaning to what you are reading to give a sense as to what the author wants you to get out of the story through the basis of interpretation. An example of an epigraph from the book Song of Solomon is “You can’t fly on-off and leave a body”. Within the novel, there is a character that goes by Milkman, we follow his journey of self-discovery by going through many hardships, struggles, and a whole rollercoaster of emotions because of the people around him and the environment he was in, which truly influenced the type of person he was in the beginning. He has gone through this transition from being a man who wanted nothing but to be independent and only focus on himself and mostly having a love/hate relationship with his family, as seen on pages 68-69 in Song of Solomon which states “His action was his alone. It would change nothing between his parents. It would change nothing between them. He had knocked his father down and perhaps there were some new positions on the chessboard, but the game would go on. Sleeping with Hagar had made him generous. Or so he thought. Wide-spirited. Or so he imagined. Wide-spirited and generous enough to defend his mother, whom he almost never thought about, and to deck his father, whom he both feared and loved.” Seeing that Milkman didn’t have the best relationship with his parents, we can see how much of an impact that is bringing onto him, since he never really had that guidance of a father or a mother to inspire him to pursue a good life and make “rightful” decisions, he had to pretty much rely on himself to a better life. However, he doesn’t really know how to do that by himself so he finds himself lost and struggles to find his true self.

Just like Milkman, I am also feeling “lost” in the sense that I don’t really know what I am doing with my life. There are so many days where I question, why am I even here? Why am I feeling this way? For so long I have strived to make the most out of everything, I want to live a happy life with friends and family, to do my best for everything regardless of all these questions that float in my head constantly, but it is almost never like that. There have been multiple times where my overthinking gets the best of me and I lose motivation instantly. Reaching out for help has never been harder, my anxiety and depression have never been darker. But like they always say, within a dark tunnel there will always be a light at the end of it, all I need is to keep my head up and keep going until I reach the end of the tunnel and reach for the light that leads to my true happiness. Coming back to the song from the beginning, in the chorus, it says “Dream, wherever you might be/ It will be lenient/ Dream, you will fully bloom/ After all the hardships/ Dream, your/ beginnings will seem humble/ So prosperous will your future be.” Therefore, I have come to acknowledge that just because my world right now is not the brightest, it is important to acknowledge that these feelings do not last forever. I have the power to do something about it and I won’t be able to do this alone.

That one person who I can always turn to is my mom. My mom has always been there for me and it hurts so much that I can’t tell her everything because I don’t want her to worry more since she already has to deal with my younger siblings and other things. But knowing that my mom always believes in me whenever I don’t believe in myself somehow gives me the motivation to do better and that in the end she will be proud of me and support me through everything I decide to do with my life. I honestly don’t know what I would do if my mom wasn’t present for all those milestones in my life.

Despite having a very rough first semester of college, I can say that I have lots of room to grow. I have definitely learned many things about myself this semester and it is only the start. When I look back at the epigraph and what it means, I can surely say how much it applies to what I am experiencing in life right now. Even for Milkman, although the storyline is not so clear, it is clear enough to see that it did not take Milkman a short amount of time to finally see himself for who he truly is for the first time and to be the person he is meant to be and what it feels like to finally break off these chains that have been holding him back all this time once he realized that his great grandfather “flew”. For instance, in the book, it states “Oh, man! He didn’t need an airplane. He just took off; got fed up. All the way up! No more cotton! No more bales! No more orders! No more shit! He flew, baby. Lifted his beautiful black ass up in the sky and flew on home.” As for the quote, in order for Milkman to realize that it is possible to fly, he had to go through many phases of doubt, hatred, and pain to get to where he got in the end. In terms of the epigraph, he only discovered how to fly because of what he had to go through to realize what it actually means to fly. In the end, I had somehow built up the courage to reach out to my friends to get to the bottom as to why we were becoming distant and talk about what happened that lead to the tension that has built up after Thanksgiving break in the first place. I was a bit doubtful and didn’t think they would want to talk, but I had to tell myself that if I want things to be cleared I had to meet up with them and talk, so I had met 3 of them and the 4th one individually. After a long and deep conversation, it actually turns out that all of us thought the same about each other and it was all just a misunderstanding. We were all feeling down and anxious and we all wanted to reach out to each other but we all thought we were all busy and didn’t want to “bother” each other. This is why I could say the same about me in terms of learning how to fly, reflecting on who I was in the past would just make me stronger, as I leap into these next chapters in my life, it opens new opportunities of what I am capable of doing and unleashing the true potential I never knew I had. All these moments where I had self-doubt and had those instances where I overthink to the point where I feel like giving up, I have to remember that it is ok to feel this way because this would only make me stronger, slowly but surely I am learning how to fly, and once I do I would finally feel free.

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