Pepperdine, being the #soblessed school there is gives its students a long summer that starts off in late April and goes on until late August. And me, being the #soblessed Pepp student who's going abroad, I don't start school until the 9th of September. This gives me a lot of extra time to spend in my hometown of suburban Chicago-land. Living a North Shore lifestyle practically my whole life gave me a peculiar view on the world. I always tried so hard to live up to the standards of the town. Much like the fictional towns of Rosewood of the drama, Pretty Little Liars or Desperate Housewives' Fairview, there is a standard that needs to be met. I found myself always scraping at the surface of a particular "standard" but I could never breakthrough. This often caused a lot of frustration- I would often think low of myself. But it wasn't until I went off to college that I realized there was no reason for me to think that way, I just simply don't belong here. My true self began to shine through in the California sun. I finally radiated the personality I always wanted to all of my life. California is my [figurative] home. But being back in my literal home, I started seeing things in a different light.
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- Lake Forest Beach in the morning
I took on more than one summer job to keep myself busy and also make some dough before I leave for a year to Argentina. Having these two jobs taught me that keeping myself busy was the best way to avoid, what some might think, is the unavoidable. Things such as, teenage drinking, drugs, Netflix, all became so unappealing to me. I didn't want any of that. I know I want a life of rapid pace and travels. For me, summer is not a time to bum around, it's a time to keep learning more and more about yourself (especially before I enter the real world after I graduate).
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Another thing that struck me when I was home was the different way people acted after just one year of college. Sure, some might argue that I'm all talk now-one year of college and Bella thinks she's better than everyone else...wrong. What I now think is that everyone reacts differently to their first year. Some just want to go back to how things were in high school, while others, like me, don't ever want to look back at those years. For example, I honestly found it so weird to see the same cliques from high school coming together again. But then again it's just me. Everyone has a different experience and not everyone is the same. I was so egotistical to think that everyone will have the same view as me after a year in college. After spending a good few months here in Lake Forest, I learned that the world doesn't just stop because you went to college, and not everyone comes back with the same views as you. It was so hard for me to leave because not only was I leaving my life in California behind but also because I will have to come home to reality. Everyone that goes to college lives in a little bubble of friends, schoolwork, parties and new experiences. But once the year is over, we all have to go back to the destroyed economy, summer jobs, family drama and having to make your own meals instead of walking half-asleep into the school cafeteria.
- My sisters and I at dinner at Authentico in Lake Forest
Lastly, the most very important thing I have learned while being at home is that although I may have "changed" and "found my place" in California. My home here will always be here solely because this is where my family is. I heard this amazing quote a few years ago, "A house isn't what makes a home, it's the family that makes the home." And I believe that now more than ever. Although I dreaded coming back to reality, God knew that this is what I needed in my life, especially before I was to go on to my next adventure in Argentina. I might not feel like I fit in in Lake Forest, but I know that my family will always be here and take me as I am, all 6ft. of me.