Throughout the entirety of my young education career, there was one word looming over everything; college. It seemed as though everything in my life had been leading up to this moment. Even my little sister, who is currently in middle school, is constantly asked about where she wants to go to college and what she wants to major in, and she's literally 13.
College is built up to be this huge, life-changing event, and maybe it is, but it's also not something to be afraid of or daunted by. I was one of those kids who took FOREVER to figure out where they wanted to go to college. Even when I finally decided, I still constantly felt unsure and that if I was wrong, this decision would screw up my entire life.
That is until I stepped onto campus.
Once I was immersed in the campus culture, settled into my dorm, and taking classes that I was actually interested (minus the general education requirements that International Baccalaureate (IB) didn't get me out of), college became just another place, another experience. My dorm became more like my real room, I got to know my classmates and teachers, and got into the routine of the everyday life.
The independence was a nice treat as well, though slightly a double-edged sword. I finally had the chance to set my own schedule and monitor my own comings and goings and make use of every second how I wanted it. But it also gave me the freedom to lounge around with friends, watch Netflix whenever I wanted, and spend time going to different events instead of going to the library to finish that essay.
Still, at the end of the year, I am thankful for every opportunity I took. I am now part of clubs and organizations I truly enjoy (as opposed to doing every club I can to build up my high school resume), I have a job I love, and I have friends for life. Yes, there was drama, as to be expected, but when it was all over, I was a better and wiser person than beforehand. I learned more about relationships than I could learn sitting in a classroom for 8 hours a day, and I explored new places in my new college town.
I learned new information in all sorts of ways. Yes I learned information from my classes about history, math, literature, language, and more, but I also learned how to write a professional email, how to approach your professor for a question or help, how to best understand a topic that doesn't involve staring at the same problem for hours, and how best to improve other habits and skills.
Not every moment in college was a blessing, however. There were nights of crying, weekends of missing home, days of stress about school or relationships, all-nighters pulled and friends lost. Yes, there are things I would go back and change, but there are also many moments I wouldn't.
It will still take me a while to get all my thoughts in order about this experience, but what I can say for now is that yes, I'm excited to go back, but man am I excited for the break summer provides.