There’s a lot to consider as I start this term. How do you start the end, you know? It’s the end of an era! The end of your teens. The end of being clueless. The time to get your sh*t together and finally figure out the rest of your life. Time to figure out who you want to be, you excited young, probably twenty-something. 


Who knew where the time went? Who knows how it went by so quickly? Heck, I still get lost on my way to class and get building names mixed up easily. I still get confused by too-fancy coffee machines that have fifty buttons each. I still ask tons of questions, and am nowhere close to ever getting all the answers. 


I’ve developed the skill to know when I want to socialize and know when I want to take breaks. I’ve developed the ever-difficult skill of knowing when and how and why to say “no” definitively. I’ve learned how to speak up even when it’s difficult. I’ve learned how to manage my mental health and reach out to ask for help when I cannot. 


I’ve learned how to prioritize what matters and remove what harms me.  I know how to forgive others, and most importantly, how to forgive myself. 


As I look back at the other fall terms, the highs and lows. The times I’ve laughed, cried, bled, struggled, and triumphed... I feel strangely calm. It’s a bit like that feeling I had before getting a helix (cartilage) piercing over the summer. Sitting in the chair, looking over the charts that showed me exactly what was going to happen. The jewelry. The needles. Trying to distract myself by chatting to the piercer. 


It’s the anticipation of wanting to try something new while knowing full-well it’s going to be difficult. It might hurt a little. Yes, there might be blood. 


But most of all, I’m calm. Because it’ll be tough, but time is just that. It passes. Short or long, the moment will be over. And I’ll move onto other things. Other places. But I’ll keep the piercing, of course. 


A memory of what’s happened here. To wear my memories on my skin and show the world just exactly what I’ve got. 


This is me. 


Get ready, world. Here I come.