A 'Thank You' To My Freshman Year Self

A 'Thank You' To My Freshman Year Self

All of the hard times and disappointments I encountered turned out to make me more strong and resilient than I could have ever imagined.

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As my junior year of college comes to a close, I can't help but think about how quickly the time has flown by since I walked onto campus for the first time three years ago. Cliché, I know, but it's really true when they say that college will be the best time of your life, but also goes by the fastest. It feels like just yesterday I was hyperventilating in my freshman dorm room after my parents had left me to live on my own for the first time in my life. Now, I'm living in an apartment, cooking my own meals, driving myself to work. I'm absolutely thriving. It's crazy how much has changed since I was a naive 18-year-old.

Coming to college has shaped me as a person more than I could have ever asked for. It's taught me to cross boundaries that I'd normally be terrified of, step out of my comfort zone in order to meet new people, and become an independent, strong-willed woman. Before coming to Penn State, I didn't really have an idea what my experience would be like. Mostly every assumption I had about college came from the movies and television shows I watched. It just so happened that my experience differed so drastically from what I had watched— in the best way possible.

It took me a while to find my footing. Of course, though, every person has to stumble a few times before taking greater strides. I had all these ideas about the things I wanted to try, the friends I wanted to make. But of course, nothing in life is ever easy. I learned the hard way that dreams aren't always meant to come true, but that doesn't mean that greater things don't come out of them. What I thought were devastating blows to my happiness turned into the sole purpose of my happiness now. Each disappointment I experienced led me down a different path, most of which acquainted me with the people I now call my best friends and the experiences that I now cherish with my whole heart.

I learned to become eternally grateful of the things that had me crying out of disappointment just a few years ago. Not only did they lead me to so many other amazing things, but they taught me resilience and strength. I had to learn how to pick myself up and dust myself off time and time again. I had to learn how to take the disappointment and heartbreak and find inspiration in them, no matter how much it hurt initially.

It may sound strange to be expressing such gratitude for the things in life that hurt me most, that challenged my strength so greatly. But without them, where would I be today? I certainly would not be so happy, so resilient, so motivated. If I had the opportunity to go back in time to my freshman year, I wouldn't change a single thing. I would just allow myself to continue to stumble, to continue to learn from my mistakes.

And then I would eventually allow myself to blossom into the thriving, ridiculously happy person I am today.

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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