My college career was an unconventional one, to say the least. I started freshman year in New Mexico, then did the exchange program to North Carolina the next year, then officially transferred junior year and luckily graduated within 4 years. It was a lot. A lot of flying, of late night phone calls to my mom crying, a lot of transitions and worrying and hoping that I was doing the right thing.
It's taken me a while to appreciate all that college has really given me. Whether that was an unexpected group of friends, passionate-filled organizations, classmates that pushed me to think, or teachers that challenged my opinions. College was something I was always terrified of but never turned back to realize it was exactly what I needed.
It definitely wasn't perfect- or anywhere close. I had the worst time adjusting to college freshman year and barely made any friends. I hated where I was, how I looked (hello freshman 15), my roommate, and just about everything else. I kept thinking that if this was what college was supposed to be like, I didn't want any part of it.
So, by sophomore year, I was out of the state and 2,500 miles away from home in a place where I knew absolutely no one. No connections. No family. And no idea of what I was doing. I met so many friends and joined a lot of different clubs that I felt passionate about, which really helped me create strong relationships. But I was still unbalanced, lost, caught up with my own inner demons, and losing weight. It was a messy and complicated year, but one that defined such a huge part of my life.
By junior year, I knew exactly what I wanted and who I wanted to be (kinda). I wanted close friends that supported me and a good support system. I wanted to be a good friend and a better listener. I wanted to give my all in school and make my parents proud. I wanted to live and enjoy life and eat what I wanted. And I wanted to write- enter English major and Odyssey.
Senior year was simply a whirlwind of work, fun, and losing our minds. Seriously, it went by SO quickly, I barely had time to blink before I was standing next to 2 of my best friends in our cap and gowns, surrounded in a sea of thrown tassles and crying students. I got my first internship, balanced work, and play, got even closer with the people that never gave up on me, and allowed myself to let go (just a little).
College is something I will always be grateful for. I learned I am so much more capable than I think I am. I freakin' moved across the country all by myself! I learned that not everyone is going to like you, and some friends are not forever. I learned gratitude isn't a given and the best hugs come from the smallest arms. I learned that I am really good at flying for hours on end and my parents are really good at paying for the flights.
I learned that life is complicated and messy but as long as you surround yourself with honorable people, good food, and fun adventure, you'll be okay.
Thank you college. I'm ready to see what's next.