Looking Back on My Past Three Years of College

Regardless of how much I look like a child, I am actually 21 years-old and am completing my junior year of college. Sometimes I can’t even believe it. It’s been a wild ride.

Let’s start from the beginning. I had no idea that I would end up at art school studying fiction. That would be my dream, the one I would mention with a weird smile as if we were all in mutual agreement that I couldn’t do it. I applied to ten colleges in 2016, most of them for Criminal Justice, since that was my “practical choice.” I picked Emerson for Creative Writing and made sure at least a couple other schools had some sort of writing or English department as a fall-back plan.

However, I took a tour of Emerson and fell in love with the campus, or lack thereof. I loved the area of the city and the people I met on my tour, and that stuck with me through my tours of other schools. On December 16, 2016, I got accepted to Emerson and posted on my Instagram: “Over the moon because I got accepted to my top choice college for my top choice major!!!!” One would think that sealed the deal for me, but it did not.

I got into other schools and had a hard time deciding if I wanted to pursue something “risky” or something “practical.” I chose my dream and I am so glad I did.

a hand holds a pen writing on sheets of paper on a wooden desk. there's a coffee cup and a notebook in front of it. Free-Photos | Pixabay

But nothing could have compared me for the culture shock of actually pursuing my dream in a college setting.

The only experiences I had before college with writing classes were one online course and a literary magazine I wrote for in middle school, which is to say, my experience was “none.” The people I met during my freshman year asked me what I had done that summer and I said, “I worked and went on a trip with my family.” It felt like they all responded with: “Cool, I published my second novel and directed a movie.”

There was no way I could compete with that. During freshman year, I had awful roommate issues that were terrifying and at times, I questioned if I was doing the right thing. Clearly, my peers were better writers than me—they had been in for this their whole lives and they had always known what they wanted. I was not cut out for this life.

Over time, I matured. I got better at writing. I realized that we all had things we had to work on and that we are our own worst critics. That doesn’t make people any less obnoxious, but I can stand on my own writing now and know that I made the right choice with my life regardless of what some random kid in a workshop has to say.

We are all on our own journeys, and mine is relevant only to myself. Three years down, and I was delusional to think I could have done anything else with my life. This is where I was meant to be, no matter how long it took me to realize that.