If you have been able to keep up with my recent articles or know me personally, you know that I have transferred colleges this year. Transferring as a junior, I knew I was in for a bit of a rough ride trying to adjust. However, I was certain I would not miss a damn thing about my old school. Fueled by a wide span of emotions, I pulled out of the parking lot of JCU on move-out day and swore never to return. Okay that sounded melodramatic but that was really the point I was at in frustration at the time. However, it really took me coming to a new campus with new people, in a new town to realize just how much my old school helped me to grow as a person and become who I am today.
First let me start by saying, I do not regret my decision. My old school just wasn't the place for me, and that's okay. I picked that school as a senior in high school, very early into senior year I may add, as an entirely different person than I am now. I was very naive to the world outside of my hometown and thought I was going to take a whole different track with my life. I had planned to be a journalism major and digital media minor. That ended up changing even before I got to college but I still had no idea where I would end up two years from that moment.
My first school truly helped me to grow into an adult. I went into college as a very nervous 18-year-old. All I had known all my life was my small town, music, theater and that was pretty much it. I was quite literally in shock once I came to the realization that I knew no one on campus and no one knew me. I hated it, I wanted to go home after the first two weeks. I wanted my best friends back, my own room, my dogs and my mom. I had no idea how to function on my own and could not seem to understand why I suddenly had so much homework than I had ever seen in my life. I didn't understand why some people were so unwelcoming, and I remember feeling like no one else felt the way I did.
Well I pulled through and thank god that I did. While obviously this school did not turn out to be my home, it did at one point in my life give me everything I needed. I ended up joining Greek life as a way to immediately integrate myself with people. While this came with it's own set of challenges, especially in the last semester, it still brought many positives to my life. I met some incredible people through my chapter and Greek life in general. I learned what it is like to be a part of something bigger than myself. However, I also used it as a learning experience that I probably do not belong best in an environment where there is a lot of structure and rules.
My old school also taught me to break out of my comfort zone. I have always been a pretty outgoing person but the new environment sent me retreating into a shell a little bit. I wasn't used to not knowing anyone and having to be new to everyone as they were new to me. While the small size of campus proved to become an issue for me, I don't think I would have lasted at a big school. Being forced to see the same people frequently, a lot of times everyday, helped to break me out of my shell. It became easier to start to befriend people once I began to recognize faces in my classes and passing on my way around campus. I truly took this for granted until I got on campus of my new school and knew no one. I would have given anything in my first week here to see a familiar face in the crowd.
Finally, my old school brought me to some of my best friends. Perhaps the hardest part of my decision to leave was knowing I would be leaving behind some pretty incredible people. I called my mom sobbing my second day of classes here saying how much easier it would be if I had just one of my friends there with me. In high school I floated in different circles and only truly have one best friend from home (hey Nick). College brought me some friends that I ended up depending on like family. This past semester really showed me who my true friends are but I would not trade a single one of them for the world.
John Carroll was never meant to be my home, I know that now. It took some time to finally fully realize it but I think I somehow always knew. However, it was a part of my life for a reason. It taught me so many valuable life lessons that I needed to know before I could truly live. It even helped me to discover where my true passion lies. So while I am now a proud BW Yellow Jacket, Arts Management major. I will always hold the memories, lessons, laughs and tears of John Carroll in my heart. I am truly happy now at my new school and that's how I know my decision was the right one.
As the old saying goes "Everything happens for a reason." While I could not fully understand what the reason was for my unhappiness at the time, I get it now. It was to show me to appreciate what good things were brought to my life by JCU, and how it put me on the path to where I belong.