The Big 23--Jordan Year

The Big 23--Jordan Year

The parallelism between Michael Jordan's incomparable career and twenty-three being the best year yet.
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Those closest to me have endured the past few weeks with the constant mention of “Jordan Year.” For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it originates from the legend himself, Michael Jordan who sported the number 23 on his basketball jersey. In parallel to his great accomplishments, maintaining one of the greatest careers in history, the age 23 is said to be the best year yet.

Perhaps I have said the term too many times, explained the meaning with too much enthusiasm, and veered off into too long a tangent about my optimistic views on turning 23. But that’s because I don’t know about you, I wasn’t really feeling 22. Shortly after turning twenty-two, I graduated from college, moved to a brand new city, and began the daunting yet exhilarating task of navigating post-grad life and New York City.

When the new charm of the city faded, subway routes became the norm, and the first wave of loneliness and isolation settled in, I felt blindsided with a feeling of regret and confusion. I began to question my decision to uproot my life to NYC. I had envisioned enjoying post-grad life after having spent the past 16 years enrolled in school with complete enthusiasm for this new era in my life. It has been almost exactly 365 days since, and the end of this month marks the end of my post-grad era.

I’ve learned to find beauty in the rhythm that life is lived in seasons. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up and attended college in states that experienced all four seasons. I believe life unfolds in a similar pattern. Though it may not be distinctly every 12 or so weeks, when I reflect, I find distinctions between the periods in my life and the fruitfulness that each season bears.

The summer after completing college was filled with bright, new adventures as I checked off my mental bucket list one NYC tourist destination at a time. Fall came around and just as the weather was transitioning to cooler temperatures, I too began to feel the loss of the city’s light and warmth. The dark winter days were also my darkest days, when even getting out of bed in the morning was a daunting task. I recall my brother coming to visit me, and when it was time for him to get on his flight home, I grew anxious and began crying, feeling paralyzed by the feeling of loneliness that would return as soon as he walked out of the apartment door.

Spring represents a new season of my life. The cold, cloudy days transitioned to bright and sunny ones. I notice beautiful flowers blooming on my walks, and I’m beginning to see the beauty in New York City once again. When I began using the quiet, lonely moments as times of personal reflection, I found truth in the saying “life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.” I discovered that though I may question the purpose of present the present, I was sowing seeds for a future season.

Tropical countries only observe two main seasons -- summer and monsoon. And just as the magnitude and intensity of monsoon season affects the crops of summer, I believe that the depth of the darkness and the gravity of challenges we experience during one season can affect the seasons to come. I take comfort in this. I am reminded when I am in the midst of a difficult season, wishing for the pain or sadness to dissipate, that the suffering of today will provide a stark contrast for the joys of tomorrow. I have learned that I would not have the full capability to enjoy the joyous, sunny seasons had I not persevered and weathered the tumultuous darkness of a stormy one.

Since weathering the storms of 22, I am truly looking forward to 23. A study published by the London School of Economics found that out of 23,161 survey participants between ages 17 to 85, age 23 was considered to be the peak of life satisfaction. I’m convinced that just like Jordan’s career, twenty-three is going to be the GOAT (greatest of all time). And if it’s not, there’s always Kobe Year (24).

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs/Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out http://www.redbubble.com for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.


Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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