A Year In Review: Reflections From A Second Semester Freshman
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A Year In Review: Reflections From A Second Semester Freshman

"You know what's funny about life? Sometimes it goes the way you want and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes when it doesn't, you find something beautiful." -Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

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A Year In Review: Reflections From A Second Semester Freshman
Tori Vacca

I am your textbook definition of a Type A personality. I like my life planned out practically to the minute and need things in order—and it’s been this way almost since I came out of the womb. In the past few years leading up to college, I had all my bases covered: knew what I wanted to do, knew what was expected of me, and had everything into the 20 schools I applied to (yes, 20. I never said I wasn’t indecisive.) with time to spare. I thought I had everything figured out, but as they say, “Man plans, God laughs.”

I don’t think a single phrase could’ve described this past year so perfectly.

As I draw nearer to the end of my first year of college and reflect on this past year, I realize how much has changed, but also how much stayed the same. This year definitely did not go as planned, by any means, but it worked out the way it was supposed to. The places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had were definitely not part of my plan, but they were part of someone else’s for me.

I never went into this year thinking it was going to be smooth sailing, but I figured I had done a majority of the legwork in high school, so this should be a relatively okay transition, right? Yeah, no.

Did I think I was going to transfer? Absolutely not. Did I think I would get homesick? Not really. On the flip side, did I think I would make some of the best friends I’ve ever had? Honestly, no. (Shoutout to 2401, love y’all.) Did I think I would get to live in NYC? Not yet.

When I look back on this year, yes, I see so many challenges and hurdles that I wasn’t anticipating. I also see, however, so many positive things that may not have happened to me otherwise—and they all happened accidentally and in perfect timing.

It’s funny to think about all that’s changed since moving away from home, and then coming home to the exact same things and people I left. I was so afraid that I would come home and not know what my life would look like. Would home still feel like home? Will my best friends still be there waiting for our late night drives down Route 9? Would my dog remember me? (This was actually a legitimate concern of mine.) The people that have been by my side for years and through high school are still the people beside me now, and will always be my home base.

This year really did throw me for a loop. For someone who likes everything set in stone to know what she’s getting, all of these curveballs really shook me. It was in these moments, though, that I tapped into a part of me that I didn’t really know was there. At first I thought I went into survival mode, and probably did, broke down for a second before getting back up, and eventually this just became how I started living my life. If I let everything shake me to me core, how was I going to enjoy the moments before they passed by? I wouldn't, so something had to change.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like things to be planned and don’t necessarily thrive on the unexpected. I have learned, however, the beauty in every curveball. Each bend in the road brought me something new that I may not have gotten otherwise, and most times its for the better. Curveballs are still curveballs, but they don’t knock me down completely.

Before I graduated, someone very special to me, someone who started off as my teacher and became that and so much more, gave me and two of my best friends gifts on our last day. I remember very vividly her telling me that she got us all similar gifts, but each had a different message, leaving her conflicted as to who would get which one. The one she gave me could not have been more perfect. A beautiful little plaque that still sits on my desk today, my message was from Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

I didn’t know it then, but this would be more relevant than I could’ve ever imagined. This past year especially, its served as a constant reminder that even when my world is falling apart, or seems like it, there’s a plan larger than me and I just have to get back on track. Not only is this message so near and dear to me, but also the person who gave it to me, who I'm lucky enough to have still waiting for me when I come home. It’s nice to know some things really do never change.

This year has been a whirlwind, in more ways than one. It’s shown me some of my darkest moments, but also some of my strongest. This journey hasn’t been at all what I was anticipating, but boy, has it been one heck of a ride.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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