I wrote a (mediocre) poem on page one of my freshman year struggles, sorrows, and sadness series. At the time, I believed it was the best thing I've ever written. But all I can really say is... cringe.

Reflecting on my emo and depressed era, I realized I lost myself engulfed in several lows this year. Commuting. Lack of a decent social life. Sleepless nights (unfortunately not because of having a “fun time” at a frat house). Isolation. An unbearable workload. And ten pounds of bubble tea. A sob story that was my harsh reality. It played over and over and over again in my head and I was tormented by my own downward spiral of thoughts. I failed to let myself flourish. And in the end, I failed myself.

My solution: Stop being your own problem.

Life was throwing more lows at me than I could handle, and I allowed it all to dictate my happiness. I spent more time dwelling on how these downfalls were occurring rather than finding a way to grow from them. Ultimately, I learned that with each struggle you overcome is a lesson learned. However, this lesson may not be as obvious to retain. Take the time to realize why things are happening rather than putting yourself down because they did. And as cliché and useless as that advice sounds coming from someone who just listed everything wrong with the year, it had a better aftermath than the actual experience. Moral of the story is: Remember to build yourself up with every downfall rather than beat yourself down for every mistake. Don't stand in your own way to be happy.

Regardless of the long scroll of issues I could list, I realized that all of them were manageable. All I had to do was transform my pessimistic energy into one that enhanced my drive for success (which definitely wasn't easy, but worth it). I always questioned what truly defined success. And I found myself continuously pushing to be successful, without even completely understanding what it meant to me. It was always defined by competition and making someone else proud. But I realized that there is no better success than satisfying yourself. After a year of "self-discovery," I guess you can say I have achieved way more than I thought I could. And with that being said *insert cliche quote*

"The best is yet to come."