Turning a New Leaf Over

Autumn on college campuses is a picturesque time of year. However, the changing colors can also signal a change in seasons of life for Quest Scholars, making it more important than ever to seek support from your Quest Family. Today we’re featuring a post from 2013 by a Quest Scholar at Grinnell who reflected on her first autumn in a new place.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.A huge, orchid-like tree stands reaching into the heavens. With colors of purple, orange, red, yellow, pink, and green, it stands magnificently. It is untouchable and beautiful. That was how I always pictured fall. The colors of the trees changing and nature changing itself into something even prettier than it was before. Fall is my favorite season and has been for a while now. But moving away to college, it hit me why I really love fall. The changing of the tree colors means time has passed by since I moved to Iowa from Missouri. It means that I am starting to notice things around me that I haven’t noticed before. It means that I am also starting to miss family and friends. Going off to college, it is easy to miss family, friends and places. For me, the idea of missing home was never really a problem until fall started. I guess you never really notice something until there is a physical reminder.

Experiencing fall in the small town of Grinnell, Iowa, was not something I envisioned at the start of the year. I guess you can say that I am one of those people who doesn’t think about what’s to come but who lives in the moment. I pictured myself freezing in the cold winter of Iowa, but I never pictured the fall and all the beautiful colors I might see. I always thought that fall was experienced the same way no matter where you were. But that is not the case. During the early days of fall when the leaves were starting to change and my friend and I were walking to the store, he looked over at me and said, “Wow the colors are so beautiful. Now I know why artists paint trees in the fall.” And with that remark, I wanted to laugh and ask if he had been living underneath a rock. But as he continued to talk, I soon realized that every place in the U.S experiences fall differently. He is from Miami, Florida, and the trees don’t change colors into the dark reds and purples he was seeing right then and there.

Stop and take in nature once in a while.

It made me realize that that fact was also true for Missouri. Where I lived in Missouri, the colors varied and were more vivid than the ones in Grinnell. Thinking about those trees made me miss my home, my school, the huge orchid-like tree, and my friends. The seasons change. It is a fact of life. No matter where you are, you are sure to notice the difference. Moving to a new state, however, makes you notice these changes even more. Fall signals the change into winter when everything appears bleak and dead. However, fall is also a reminder of time and the beauty of nature that we all tend to take for granted. Nature is something that has always intrigued me, so whenever fall rolls around, I am reminded of all the things around me that I don’t notice during the other three seasons. It is not simply because of the colors (well, it has a lot to do with the colors), but it’s also all the things you can do during fall like celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. So with each year, I impatiently await for the arrival of the fall season. And each year, I am not disappointed no matter where I am.

— by Charlotte Gbomina, Quest Scholar, Grinnell College

This was originally posted on 11/07/2013 on the Quest Scholars Network Blog.