I turned in my last assignment yesterday and felt the urge to exhale.
I realized that I had been holding my breath this entire semester; I was afraid to exhale because I just didn't know if there was going to be any oxygen left when I did so.
I went on an emotional rollercoaster this fall, one that I've documented well on this website. Between experiencing my first true heartbreak, living alone in a dorm on a campus completely isolated from friends, and not having theatre to turn to in my darkest moments, I think it's safe to say that I was completely shattered.
Then, I made an impulsive decision to pack up my entire life and move back home. I said my goodbyes to a select few friends, got my shifts covered at my on campus job, and just left. I returned two weeks later to clear out the rest of my belongings, but blew through town like the storm we're experiencing right now in Pennsylvania.
Now I'm back home, prepared to be completely online for the spring semester. I'm going to be working a lot probably, teaching a class for the School of Theatre, and just taking time for myself. I'm hoping that I won't be confined entirely to my room and work - the news of the vaccine this past week has been really promising. I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and can actually see myself in a theater sometime in 2021.
As challenging as this moment was and as intense as this burning desire to leave this semester behind me, I also don't want to forget it.
I fully believe that this year is going to shape me for the rest of my life. It is going to make it harder to connect with people. It is going to make me question close encounters. The first time I sit in a crowded theater again is probably to be a little anxiety-inducing.
I don't want to forget what I experienced this year. I hope you don't want to either. Because, in this year, everything was taken away from us. And it made us appreciate it that much more.
When we return, I know I'm going to appreciate being able to go through the library again, picking out my own books. Meeting a friend for coffee in the local coffee shop. Going to a party with friends and just having the time of my life, dancing.
To all of my college friends finishing their semesters this week (or if you've already completed it), much love to you. While it does feel like a continuation of the spring, for many this fall felt like it's own beast.
You've got this.