This past week, I began my second year of university as a sophomore. After that initial first year in college, it would seem like sophomore year isn't much of a milestone to commemorate. And yet, I can feel the unexpected impact of it within my first week.
I try not to reflect too often anymore, but I can truly feel the weight of how a year can change your life tremendously. If you're a college freshman and you're anything like I was my first year, you might feel anxious at the inevitable change to be taking over your life. I definitely was and it made me a bit miserable for awhile, but it was a part of the overall journey of becoming a college student.
This past year has helped me come to terms with this change, and now I'm truly happy with the present. So do I want to go back to life before college? Not anymore. Because I finally accepted that I didn't peak in high school: not even close.
I guess that was the initial fear I had my freshman year — that I had reached my absolute happiest when I was a senior in high school. And that fear seemed valid, because when I look back at my pictures from two years ago, I see a girl who had thought she was at her peak. I certainly had my struggles in life, but life was definitely a whole lot more simple than it is right now. At the age of 16 going on 17, my main concerns were my AP classes, clubs, my school newspaper. and any upcoming cross country race I had that week. I enjoyed all my classes because I was surrounded by people I had pretty much grown up with, and I looked forward to sports practice every single day. I felt overwhelmingly blessed by the true friends I had, and when I felt into bed at the end of a long day, I would say to myself: "I wouldn't trade what I have for absolutely anything."
And that was the problem I had with beginning university, and maybe you're having that problem now too. I was so content with life senior year and thought it was impossible for me to be any happier. But little did I know was that I didn't reach my peak and I am not going to ever, because I'm on the constant quest to becoming a better person than I was yesterday.
If we hit a "peak," especially only in high school, the milestones we experience in life would be fundamentally useless because we would feel like we're not gaining anything from them. You're going to grow apart from your close friends. You're going to lose interest in the hobbies you once thought were your passion. You're going to go through the hardships that the adult life entails. But you're going to grow more resilient, and you're going to be okay.
Hearing that you didn't peak in high school might sound like relief to some, but to others, it sounds like a surprise. But that only comes once you embrace change with open arms. When I did that, life became so much more bright and I am at peace with the direction that my life is heading. Everything is so much more complex and stressful than it was two years ago, in ways I never would imagine, but things are how they are supposed to be. It's kind of strange because even though technically high school was only a little over a year ago, some days it truly feels like another life.
Life is completely different, and I've grown a lot as a person. But I'm still thankful for all those friends, even the ones I don't see very often anymore, because they will always have a special place in my heart. I'm excited to keep getting better, but I'm never going to stop, and you shouldn't either. Nostalgia can be kind of heavy, but that's how I know what I had was good. I still feel that blessing to this day and I know it will for the rest of forever.
"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?" - C.S. Lewis.