Sometimes, it is crazy to think about the fact I graduated over a year ago. I think what makes it truly crazy though is how much I've changed since the closing of that chapter of my life. I have failed, but I have also gained so many experiences I would not trade for the world.
That even means moving away from home, from what was familiar to me. My hometown is a close-knit community where everyone basically knows of each other. Frankly, a good portion of people never leave. I knew I had to leave though. I moved to my hometown when I was 6 years old, and felt like an outcast ever since. I've been through three different schools, meeting all different kinds of people, but never finding friends of my own. I had "friends," but they really weren't there for me.
After announcing where I was attending college, I still remember all the odd looks I got from even administration of my high school.
"Oh, you're going to fail."
"Why would you want to go that far away when community college is such a cheaper option?"
"Isn't Temple in a bad part of Philadelphia? Are you going because of the drugs there?"
When I first moved to Philadelphia, I would see the same people from high school hanging out on the weekends, or just even visiting each other at their respective colleges. Sure, I never was close really with any of them, but I missed what I knew. Senior year, I was running my school like it was nobody's business. I was comfortable. Moving so far away from home was unfamiliar and I most definitely felt uncomfortable. I was strangely homesick.
On Facebook, it is easy to see how happy people are based on the photos they chose to post. Seeing the smiles of my former classmates, or my old friend group hang out back home made me want to forget I even took a chance with studying at Temple University. It's almost funny how social media can mess with our minds and give the illusion everything is perfect.
It also didn't help that I had people telling me, "well you chose to move away for school," or "that's what you get for going so far away," when I tried voicing my anxieties and homesickness to my former classmates.
By the time Christmas break rolled around, I realized they were right. What I got from choosing to go to a school not 20 minutes from home was a new beginning that I deserved. My first semester of college taught me I was better off in the long run without all the toxic people I use to be associated with. College was offering me a new beginning in life and I really deserved to embrace it. I needed to give myself the chance to take every opportunity even if I failed because it was far better than what I had back home.
That was even I stopped paying attention to Instagram posts and Facebook statuses because they don't matter to me. Sure, it was nice seeing someone had gotten an internship, or someone had returned home from basic training. However, I needed to move on. They weren't my world anymore, and frankly never were. They were the people I ended up growing up with, but have different ambitions and needed to pursue them even if it is a risk.
I pushed myself hard to get to Temple. Now in my second year, it is the best decision I have ever made. Philadelphia is my second home, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
However, I wouldn't know that if I believed social media that life back home was better. Having people constantly belittle your ambitions and choices can definitely deteriorate your self-esteem and make you over think if you are doing "the right thing." The right thing, in reality, is what makes you the happiest.
When I stopped talking to the people that made me wonder if I was happy at Temple, even though it is six hours from the world, that was what made me the happiest. I began embracing this new life I live and have people who treat me the way I deserve to be treated.