The King's College Student Blog

Holden Caulfield and the Nature of Time

When I graduated from high school, my mom told me, “Time is going to start moving really fast from here on out!” I kind of nodded and laughed, trying to agree, but I had no idea what she meant until this semester.

Maybe it’s something about the nature of college that makes time feel expedited on its linear path. All I know is what I've experienced, and my experience tells me that the College Time Zone is a lot different than the High School Time Zone. Sure, objectively, time is moving at the same pace, but that doesn’t really change my observation that days are running into weeks, into months, into semesters.

The greatest book of all time 

The greatest book of all time 

This is actually an observation that has been making me very sad: I don’t want time to speed up now; in fact, I think I would prefer it just slow down, or maybe even freeze for a bit. I like the way things are here at King’s, and in New York, and they are so good that I feel them slipping away. Yet, I’m also afraid of the future, and all the unknowns that it holds, and I’m sad that suddenly I’m hurtling toward it faster than ever before. Either way, I want time to freeze.

One of my favorite books is J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. In one passage, Holden watches his sister Phoebe ride the carousel in Central Park, and the image of her going around and around fills him with an unnaturally strong nostalgia for something he can’t quite identify. Holden, I think, desires a circular path of time, a familiar rotation of the things he knows and loves. Things in his life are changing too quickly, and he’d prefer time move in a circle, like the carousel, instead of on a straight line into the future.

Right now, I feel a lot like Holden. I’m excited for the way things are, and I’m scared for what I don’t know about my future. I wish that I could get on the carousel, and stay on it, at least for a little while. I know that I can’t, and I know that time will trudge forward at an objective pace regardless of my accelerated perception. I just wish I could get on the carousel. 

Lauren Schuhmacher