Nocturne of the Nerd: the college years: “Doubts, Hopes, and Fears of a Growing Adult”

This poem details the experiences of being a confused student in a college setting and his eventual transition to the real world.

A nocturne is a contemplative piece of music, usually inspired by the evening. Written from the perspective of a college student, this poem is a reflective piece about the transitions that occur when attending college.

Five bars of misplaced notes.
Treble brewing, bass shattering vocals.
Halfway through college, a quarter way from adulthood.
I’m an eighth of a whole man, composing
an instrumental for the internal audience.

These symbols normally show up in sheet music, which calls back to the compositional nature of a nocturne. Brother Humbled is a young college student who is about to finish his educational career, yet still has some maturing to do before graduation.

Here I am.
Inside a dormitory of conformity.
Boys finding their manhood in rebellion.

I simply mature in silence.

As a transfer student at a university, he spends his first year away from home and inside dorm rooms. Surrounded by people his age, Brother Humbled has a tough time relating with the other students. While they use this freedom as an excuse to indulge in the party life, Brother Humbled chooses to find solitude and focus on his work.

Struggling to keep depression at bay.
Just wait, don’t succumb to the sadness.

The solitude doesn’t help with the depression, which he struggles with as he adjusts with his independence. He wants to enjoy the college life, albeit in a more conservative manner.

My past friendships consist
of distant connections and unreplied text messages.

In this new stage of life, it’s difficult to reconnect with people who weren’t always the most considerate. So Brother Humbled hopes to establish some worthwhile friendships in this new setting.

My major is engineering,
yet I still can’t build a bridge to the future.
Databases, computer architecture, and
coding languages aren’t appealing to me.

Like most young students, Brother Humbled had trouble deciding a major. Although he settled on engineering, he regrets picking something that he lacked an inherent passion for.

I settled on being an underachiever,
a troll throwing rocks at the curriculum.

His intellect was unable to comply with the curriculum before him. Like a bridge troll, he couldn’t meet the standards of a successful engineering student.

With mediocre grades and late turn-ins,
I turned into the very student I despised

As the semesters progressed, his grades were nothing to brag about. Brother Humbled couldn’t effectively retain the information, making tests hard to take. The assignments were time-consuming and laborious. It’s probably leading to a bit of self-doubt in his learning capabilities.

I failed my finals for the last time when
I changed my major to match my passion.

After failing another final, Brother Humbled concludes that engineering is not his desired career path. As a leap of faith, he requests a major change before his senior year.

I decided to design graphics for a living
and be more professional in my writing.

His new major involves graphic design and writing, which he considered to be hobbies that aren’t profitable. Now a senior, he now has to prevail through a few more semesters and explore opportunities that may help him post-college.

Some fears remain, still outlining my five-year plan.
Lord willing, I hope to play the sound of a whole man.

Brother Humbled now has to take his life more seriously. In order to become a “whole man,” he needs to complete the nocturne. From a confused college student to a mature adult, the college experience added a variety of notes that ultimately came together to execute a unique tune. With graduation behind him and the world in front of him, Brother Humbled now has to play his song for a new audience.

Will they receive it well or were they better off not hearing it in the first place?




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