College is difficult. College is difficult when you have to carry a heavy backpack. College is difficult when you have to carry a heavy backpack, and your shoulders don’t cooperate. But there is a solution to this challenge–one that I dreaded at first but now enjoy.
Here are seven reasons why I’m enjoying my use of a rolling backpack on a college campus:
- It reminds me of a simpler time–2004. Back in the day when Hilary Duff was everyone’s role model, rolling backpacks were on everyone’s Christmas list. They were a mark of cool-kid status. Using my rolling backpack helps me imagine college as Lizzie McGuire would.
- It reminds me of 2004, when my joints were for me, not against me. The glory days of the early 2000s were filled with gymnastics, tumbling, strength training. My rolling backpack carries along with it nostalgia of the ability to use my shoulders to do flips. But in addition to nostalgia, it brings back good memories of the days when I was actually an athlete. LOL.
- It allows one of the most soft-spoken students on campus to become the loudest. God’s sense of humor is evident in this situation. The sidewalk outside my dorm and the bridge to the rest of campus give me more volume than I ever could muster while performing flute or piano. My rolling backpack is now a megaphone that shouts “GOOOOOOOD MORNING, BEESON WOODS!” I’m probably someone’s alarm to wake up for class.
- It allows me to relate to the hipsters. The great thing about going to school that embraces hipster culture is that I’ve actually gotten compliments on my backpack–something I was not expecting at all. I’ve even had people tell me that they wished they had one. Guess I’m just a trendsetter. (In terms of joint pain, I’m also way ahead of the curve for people my age.)
- It helps me understand that I overanalyze the possibility of criticism. Before I got to the point of needing a rolling backpack, I imagined people I pass on the way to class pointing and laughing at it. In reality, no one cares. I thought that everyone would make a huge deal about it. Literally no one cares. I’ve realized that people don’t care as much about the things I do as I thought, which is a huge relief for overthinkers like me. Since no one is pointing and laughing at my use of a rolling backpack (at least within my line of vision), I can rest in the fact that my pain, along with its implications, is not my identity.
- It keeps me focused on why I’m in college. When people walking ahead of me turn back to see what could possibly be so loud behind them, I remind myself, “I’m here for my education. I’m not here for people to like me.” Not that they don’t like me. But my overanalyzing brain thinks that when people are curious about the noise my backpack causes, they are looking back in judgment. Most likely not true. Like I said, no one cares (in the best sense). Even still, the reminder of why I continue to push through the daily pain serves as great motivation.
- It takes the weight of the world off my shoulders. You’d be surprised how heavy a 3-pound backpack feels when your muscles are already overworked, trying to pick up the slack of loose tendons and ligaments. Since I’ve started using the rolling backpack, my life is 25% easier. (To me, that’s a lot.) I can now begin class without major fatigue, which only gets worse as my class goes on. The significant relief I’ve experienced as a result of my rolling backpack makes me think of the light load that Jesus calls us to bear:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Ultimately, my rolling backpack is a reminder that I don’t have to carry everything myself. It’s God’s way of telling me, “I’ve got this. Relax.”