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If high school me knew how powerful, confident, and downright intelligent I am today, I can’t imagine what she would think. Intimidated? Driven? Favorite movie character vibe? I’m not sure, but I’m glad that I knew her, and I’m glad that I kept their work ethic. 

A lot of changes have happened since just the last semester: I found love, I left Starbucks, and most importantly, I signed a lease. That’s right, all mine! I found myself working four jobs between Starbucks, bartending, babysitting, and eventually leading to an internship from which I have learned more than one could have thought. There were way too many long days and short nights filled with energy drinks, coffee, and endless memories. 

I hoarded money and made sure to spend only what I needed, but I loved holding myself to that standard. I loved that I was feeling like something big was about to happen, and I just needed to be patient. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s jump back to May, when I toured and applied. 

I scheduled a tour with the leasing office that was extremely short-lived because I walked in knowing what I wanted. However, my hope was slipping from me as I kept being turned away and all the places I had looked were already booked through the fall. The leasing agent told me they just sold their last place for their term, and I felt my stomach drop. I asked about another building, and to my surprise, there was an opening! I snatched it right out of thin air. To be specific, I interrupted her and said that I wanted to apply and she stopped in her tracks to print out the paperwork. 

I waited and waited and waited for what felt like an eternity when it was just 48 hours and I caught myself being dramatic. Nothing could amount to the pride I had in myself when I received the approval email. It was then that I needed to check my accounts and make sure that I at least had enough to feel like I had a good start, and it was just the opposite. I didn’t need to act immediately, but I’m glad that I took urgency to it. 

I watched days and nights pass by me as I worked and worked and worked. I was always bartending until the early morning, and then working at Starbucks from early until the afternoon, and then repeating. I was working at least two to three jobs a day, but I was living my dream of being the happiest and making so many new friends that I would do anything for today. 

I remember paychecks coming in, and actually feeling the work pay off and my savings grow. And at the end of the summer when I had the chance to move in, I forgot to apply for insurance! Good thing my mom knows a guy and quickly helped me! I also forgot to set up electricity and my internet. Can you tell that I was new to this? Because I sure exposed myself (to myself) that I had absolutely no clue what was going on. The people helping me were so kind and patient, I couldn’t be more thankful for them and their time, truthfully. 

August 2, 2021: The day is here, and I couldn’t be more reluctant to leave my mom’s house and head into a place of my own. My own name to a lease. My own name on all of my mail. My own name on my bills. It was an eye-opening moment in that I realized I was truly on my own now. I have never looked back on anything that happened during the summer in anger. Rather, I look at it with pride because for that, I am now feeling so good with myself and that I can live in the peace I’ve earned. 

To the people who hired me, worked around my schedules, and believed in me enough to push me beyond my limits: Thank you from the bottom of my heart, because you made this happen just as much as I did. 

JP is a born and raised Midwesterner, but now calls the desert home. She is a Junior studying English, Spanish, and Media Analysis. 
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