As I enter the last year of my undergraduate career, I can't help but feel the subtle pull on my heartstrings to reflect on what has occurred over the past few years. College is really the time to explore and question the world around you, which is obvious, but something that I don't think really resonated with me until my second year.
In part, it was a matter of feeling lost; something that is bound to happen at some point in one's formative years. Transitioning to life in college was something that occurred more or less naturally for me. After attending high school online, opting out of the normal homecoming, prom, and brick and mortar experience, entering college was a welcome change. Of course, I had plenty of the typical social hiccups that one encounters as a freshman: who do I sit with, what do I wear, and pondering if I should ask for someone's Snapchat.
All in all, I had finished my freshman year largely unscathed and was entering my sophomore year with newfound security, and the hopeful air of someone ready to take on anything that life was ready to throw their way. At the time, it felt like everything was perfect, and in the blink of an eye, for more reasons than I can even list, my sense of self crumbled around me. This feeling of not knowing was so strange and foreign then, but I have learned to grow more comfortable living within it. This is thanks to the fact that I found that almost all my peers were struggling just as much as me, or sometimes even more; facing what seems like the most important decisions of our young lives. It is normal to have this sense of discomfort - especially when you are actively partaking in your own growth and development.
College was just the place to partake in the self-discovery that I required at that time, and even still require today. My days, filled with classes, workshops, and internships were an outward manifestation of the internal work that I was investing towards my future. The books read, tears shed, and laughs laughed are what I carry with me today as I look back on my collegiate years. There is not one singular moment that defined this chapter for me, especially when I think about all that has transpired. Instead, I have a highlight reel of images that flash past me as I think about all the crazy, amazing things that I have been a part of.
Going into college, there was certainly a mountain of things that I wish I could have told my younger self. Today, though, those words of wisdom hold a unique weight as I think of them as badges of honor, testaments to the growth that I have been witness to. More importantly, college has shown me that education truly never ends and there are musings of inspiration that I can even draw from the young, naive freshman that stepped onto campus three years ago. Firstly, never be scared to jump in headfirst when it comes to things that intrigue you. Entering the new world of college life, I think I took on everything with a fresh view, and a curiosity that I didn't know I would need to nurture. I have had to work on fostering that outlook on things, as it definitely doesn't stick around with you naturally. Interestingly, I draw from that experience today, looking at things optimistically, as I face my first semester as a senior, attending classes entirely online.
College, with its ups and downs, was by no means the perfect experience, but it has been the best primer for my foreseeable future, as I begin to turn to the next page of my life. I am sure a lot of students today are far from thrilled to be partaking in 'Zoom University,' and I know none of us could have expected this. However, it is in our moments of intense contemplation and even despair that we learn the most about ourselves. By no means, is this an easy pill to swallow, and it can feel at times like you wake up to face more and more questions than you care to answer. However, in hindsight, I think we will all see both how small these days are in the context of our overall life narratives, and also how beautiful the process of turning inward to find the answers to one's problems can be. Ultimately, try to make the most of this time, and open your mind to the lessons that are being taught to you, both in and out of the classroom.