April 22, 2021
You did it. You made it. You’re done. Now what?
As I write this, I am just about one year away from graduation day. These past three years have definitely not been what you expected, but that does not mean they were by any means disappointing. You have overcome so many obstacles, grown significantly as a person, and have learned more than you ever thought possible. I don’t think freshman year Isabella would recognize the woman you’ve become.
My college career was vastly interrupted by COVID-19, along with a large number of other students. I had been dreaming of studying abroad in Italy since I learned what a study abroad program even is. I expected my 21st birthday to be filled with bar-hopping, crowded bars, and all of my closest friends. I was supposed to go to tropical islands for Spring Break with my best friends. None of this happened. I have spent the past year and a half dwelling on missed opportunities and things I will never get back because of COVID-19.
Yet, just because I missed out on a few things, does not, by any means, mean that I didn’t enjoy my time here. I have grown into an exceptional writer, my confidence in my work has skyrocketed, and I am no longer afraid to say what I think.
Freshman year, I leaped out of my comfort zone and flew across the country to go to college in Boulder, Colorado, a place I had only spent a total of 48 hours at. You challenged yourself to make friends and meet new people, something you never would have done in high school. I was pushed academically and socially, both of which I was rewarded for my hard work. I excelled academically and made friends my freshman year that would end up being my senior year roommates. I left that year a completely new person, in all the best ways possible.
Sophomore year, I found an amazing friend group and was having the time of my life living on my own with two of my best friends. We were going out, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. But then, March 2020 hit. And, as we are all way too familiar with, things took a turn for the worst. The best time of my life quickly turned into some of the worst. I had to finish my sophomore year in my childhood bedroom, hundreds of miles away from my college friends.
The best thing to come out of quarantine was my newfound love of running and working out. I had put working out on the back burner when I got to college. I wanted to focus on having a good time and working out was the least of my worries. Quarantine made me fall in love with running (probably because it was the only chance I got each day to get a little time alone and get away from my family for a bit). I am training for a marathon right now (hopefully, you have done one by now!). If you told high school me that, I would probably pass out.
Junior year was a whole new beast. You were challenging academically more than ever in your life. You worked close to 50 hour weeks between school, juggling two internships, and working out two to three hours a day. I am pushing myself more than I ever have before, right now. I am constantly doing something, which also means I am constantly exhausted.
Because of COVID-19, junior year has been spent largely at home. Each week feels the same as the last. I have to find things to look forward to when in previous years, something to look forward to was always finding me. I missed out on a proper 21st celebration, studying abroad, and honestly, just a normal college experience. I feel as though I have completely wasted a year and college is just passing me by.
Thinking about graduation is one of the scariest things right now. I cannot fathom not going to school or waking up and having classes every day. School is all I know. It is all I have done for the past 21 years of my life. It has helped me keep busy, been a distraction, and a lifeline when I don’t feel like myself. What will I do without it? Where do I go from here? Who even am I?
When someone asks me what I want to do post-grad, I say “something in the fashion industry.” Honestly, I don’t even think I know what that means. I know what I like and what I don’t want to do but I can’t seem to find my absolute dream job. I love writing, fashion, travel, pop culture, fitness, health, and wellness. I could see myself working for a designer, magazine, PR firm, brand, behind the scenes at fashion shows, designing clothing, being a buyer, or anything with sneakers. The list goes on and on. I know I don’t want to sit at a desk or be tied to an office all day. I want to work in a creative environment with other creatives. I’d love to wind up in New York City, or I wouldn’t even mind living abroad and living out my missed studying abroad opportunity. Clearly, I am clueless and have no idea what the future holds or where I’ll wind up. It’s all up to you, future Isabella.
In one year, I want to be happy and thrilled for my future career. I don’t want to settle because of the pressure of graduation. There is no rush to jump into something you are not passionate about. You have spent too long being unhappy to not be happy with your career.
I hope your senior year was filled with everything your last three years here missed. You better have gone to at least one football game. Come on, they’re fun! I hope you said “yes” to everything and lived every day to the fullest. You will never get this time back, or be with all of these people ever again. I hope you made the most of it but I know you definitely did.
My biggest takeaway from all of this is you have grown into an extraordinary person. I think your younger self would be very proud of the woman you have become. I know I am.
The world is now yours and you are finally in the driver’s seat. The world is a funny, small place and things have an ironic way of working themselves out. Don’t worry if you are not where you want to be right now, everything will be OK. You have gone through worse.
Now, it is time to own your world and make it yours. Don’t hold yourself back. Be unstoppable. Be the person you have always dreamed of being.
My whole heart,