Love and change

Jan. 16, 2024, 11:22 p.m.

I often come back to the time I shared with this special person. When we met, I did not have a handle on much in life (I still don’t). So much of my better judgment cautioned against taking the leap into starting something with them. There was so much that I did not know, and it was scary. To this very day, however, I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most beautiful times of my life.

While it was scary and not the most responsible decision that I’ve made, I not only learned so much about them but I also learned so much about myself. While things with them have ended, I do not think that my profound appreciation for what we did have will ever go away.

When I think about love on campus, I think about it as being open to change. With the infamous quarter system, love is something that needs to be open to change. Classes change. Schedules change. Commitments — both professional and personal — change.

Change gets you to ask questions that you never even thought to ask before, and that does not have to be a bad thing — even if it feels scary, which it does not have to be. 

A change that felt particularly scary for me was when it all ended with this other person. Given where I was in life before we met, I was seriously terrified by the reality that my time on campus would go on without them. I was scared to the point of questioning my very worth and purpose as a person. It was that line of heart-wrenching questioning that pushed me toward a new love of mine: writing for The Daily.

That change was good and needed. That change gave me a renewed sense of purpose, one which helped me discover a love of stories. It’s a beautiful thing that everyone lives life with their respective stories. To learn about people, hear what they have to say and share their story has been a wonderful experience — one that I would never consider giving up.

As hard as it has been to realize, I only found this love of mine because of what was then a truly scary change in my love life. As scary as it was, I needed it. That change was for the better, and I truly am grateful for it. 

An all-too-common change with love on campus is letting someone go. Whether it is the relationship with them or even just the memory of them, letting go can be for the best sometimes (not the easiest thing in the world, I know). With time, you will see just how far you have come.

Becoming more aware of the kinds of standards, communication styles and expressions of love that are healthier for you and make you a stronger person — a better partner, even — is nothing but a good thing. Sometimes it is the scariest changes in your love life that push you to grow the most, even if you don’t see it right away.

While navigating Stanford, I do not think that love is something that you need to know the ins and outs of. For most, Stanford is a point in life that is open to such incredible change. I don’t think that is something that necessarily needs to take anything away from experiencing love on campus. To love in new ways can be beautiful. To be loved in new ways can be beautiful.

When thinking about how classes, extracurriculars, dorm life and other aspects of campus life impact love, it is more than okay to not feel fully prepared for it. 

Sebastian Strawser ‘24 is an Opinions contributor. He also writes for Humor and The Grind. His interests include political philosophy, capybaras and Filipino food. Contact Sebastian at sstrawser 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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