Most birthdays don’t signify much of a change for me or anyone our age for that matter. We wake up and celebrate but we don’t feel any different on our birthdays. This time, I did.
My 18th birthday was a birthday of firsts. It was the first birthday I spent not surrounded by family, the first birthday where my parents didn’t feign nonchalance and then throw a huge party, the first birthday I was allowed to sit down and reflect.
I thought about my high school self who less than a month ago couldn’t wait to be on campus. Couldn’t wait for freedom, passion in my classes, new friends who shared my interests, and possibly, a future husband.
I’m gonna be truthful with you, I haven't fully experienced any of that yet. I know what you're thinking. Yes, it is early, and yes, this is only my first semester in college.
I am experiencing college much more differently than I thought I would. I haven’t made all the lifelong friends I thought I would make yet but I have made friends. I haven't met the love of my life yet. I have also spent a semester taking nursing classes when I am now an English major.
So much has changed in the couple of months that I've been on campus that it's crazy to believe that we haven't been here for more than three months.
What has not changed, though, are my expectations for the future. I've always been told that I expect too much or that I am unrealistic and I always end up getting disappointed in the end. I will not let that happen this time though. I am keeping my expectations and I will make them a reality.
Sometimes, it's hard to keep that energy though. To myself and to anyone else who is feeling like this: be patient. I don’t deny that I am one to eat one piece of fruit and expect instant results. But, I can also acknowledge that things take time.
For the kind of quality we are looking for, sometimes we have to wait. That's not saying that things that happen quickly are not of high quality, though.
We all dream of falling in love in a whirlwind and for our interests to line up into useful skills and turn into a career. However, this is seeming more unrealistic than the dreamer trope.
As cliche as this saying is, "slow and steady wins the race." Take your time, take in the scenery, smell the air and stop trying to rush what you're looking for. Don't get so entwined in what you think college is supposed to be like that you forget to experience it.
There are so many things to enjoy in college that you'll miss out on if you're too focused on your "plan" instead of living life. If the first semester went by this fast, then graduation will be here before you know it.
Let's not look back at our time here and wish we hadn't wasted time in getting caught up in how we expected it to be. Now that I've given this advice, It's probably time for me to start taking it.