This semester my whole identity changed due a decision I made last semester to put away my Waynesburg University gear and to transfer to a school closer to home. After a semester of a lot of hard situations and decisions, a major concussion led to a lot of soul-searching and the realization that I wasn't happy despite surrounding myself with activities and overloading my schedule with coursework to keep my mind off of my loneliness. Because of my concussion, I missed the entire tennis season, had to drop a few classes, and spend most of my time "resting." In those moments when I physically couldn't do everything I wanted to, I realized that this was not anywhere near the experience I had hoped for and expected. After spending those lonely alone nights in my room watching Hulu, I realized what was important and what I wanted to deal with (and especially what I didn't). I didn't want to fake that everything was "just fine" as I had done the last two semesters.

Don't get me wrong, I had some amazing experiences, learned some amazing lessons, made some amazing connections, and picked up a few great friends along the way and one saintly best friend who made it so hard to leave. But after really assessing how I felt and some toxic roommate problems, I decided to let go of this school that first captured my heart. It was the only place I applied, was a place close to my family's heart, and I desperately wanted to have this incredible experience that I had heard about. It was hard to decide, but leaving and having a fresh start was the best option. So I took a leap of faith in applying to transfer to a school closer to home and...

I've been so incredibly happy. No longer do I experience that feeling of dread in my stomach that I got driving two hours to campus each week, which I must say is partially due to my decision to commute to college anyhow. The school I go to is only twenty minutes from my house and is a money-saver to live at home. But mostly, it's because I do love being home. While I wasn't sure how it would be going from a resident to commuter, for me, it's been pretty great. The feeling of being able to leave school stress behind and to chose to go to school every day, not just feeling "stuck" there, is actually pretty great. While it's harder to be involved on campus, I now appreciate the activities I choose to be involved in all-the-more because it is extra effort and time to be a part of them. It's helped me to prioritize what is important to because I was the type to sign up for any and everything. Now, I have to be more selective with my time, which has been a great life skill. On top of this, I've been able to be involved in activities that I loved when I was at home and to bring them back into my life.

What's also been really nice is the high number of commuters in my classes as well, so I don't feel like I'm alone in living off-campus at all. Plus, thanks to being a commuter, I was able to adopt a puppy that I absolutely adore (even when he's bad or impersonating a shark by trying to "love bite" my arm off). So this decision awarded me a new furry friend on top of everything.

Another great thing that happened because of my decision to transfer was changing my major. I enjoyed the topic of psychology and was doing well it in, but I realized that it wasn't what I wanted to devote my life to doing. So now, with half a semester an education-major under my belt, I've enjoyed being a part of the education department immensely. It's an inclusive major, which is rooted in collaborating and working together, so that has been great for meeting people.

While the decision to make so many major changes can seem daunting or unmanageable to some people, for me, it has been rejuvenating. I love going to class and then subsequently heading home each night to my own home with people and a puppy that I love living with. I have really enjoyed my new classes and the new opportunities being an education major has given me. While saying, "I'm a transfer, commuter student, who changed my major when I transferred," is a mouthful, I wouldn't want it any other way.