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How I’ve Used College as a Way To Reinvent Myself

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Before I even got to Florida State University (FSU), I was worried that it was going to be like high school: wishing I had friends, feeling out of place, and wondering why everything felt so hard. 

High school was not the best four years of my life. COVID-19 cut my freshman year short, and my entire sophomore year was online. I moved states before my junior year, and I spent those last two years wishing I was anywhere but there. The present was unbearable for me, and the future seemed out of reach.

Then I got to FSU. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was overwhelmed by the vastness of the campus and its possibilities, but everything fell into place pretty smoothly. I got lucky: I met some of my best friends through those FSU class of 2027 Instagram accounts (hey, Kate and Andrew!) and I have an awesome roommate who made dorming feel less scary. I had people to lean on as I got adjusted to college life, and that made the transition so much easier. 

I quickly found a great way to balance my social and academic life once classes started. Yes, school is hard, and I still get overwhelmed, but I’ve worked up a routine for myself. On weekdays classes are my priority, Friday nights are for fun, Saturdays are for rotting in my hammock, and Sundays are reset and study days. Obviously, I give myself some grace and don’t stick to this too strictly, but knowing that I’ve carved out time for school and myself makes each week more manageable.

If you told high school me that she no longer had a “just gotta get through this week” mindset, she wouldn’t believe you because, in her mind, the opposite was not an attainable way to live. I’ve found a group of friends who understand me, and who push me to do what’s best for myself. I’m motivated to go outside, get fresh air, and socialize every single day. 

A few weeks into the semester, my friends here used the term “bubbly” to describe me, and this came as a shock to me. Never before would I have thought that people would perceive me as lively, happy, and giggly. But it’s true: I am lively here, I feel happy with the people I’ve surrounded myself with, and I giggle to myself way too many times a day to count. 

If junior year Grace saw me now, she would implode. In fact, junior year Grace would be proud to know she finally worked up the courage to go back to therapy. (No, past Grace, you don’t lie to your therapist and no, you don’t think that it’s a waste of time). My therapist told me that she had trouble picturing me as the girl I described from high school. From her perspective, I get it. That girl I described had tunnel vision. She couldn’t look beyond where she was, and she accepted that she was going to be anxious and depressed for the rest of her life, so she might as well learn to live with it. 

The girl I am now is working on herself. She’s putting in the effort to be better for herself. I journal my thoughts, attend anxiety workshops, and I meditate now. My therapist said that she hopes I recognize that it’s not the circumstances that have made me better, but my effort that has done that. Something must’ve gotten into my eye when she said that — all of a sudden, they were wet. 

But seriously, hearing that my work presents itself to the people around me makes me want to continue to do better. I want to meet new people and try new things. I want to go to therapy and learn new coping strategies. I want to love my life and where I’m at in it. 

I am still learning who I am and what I want, but being in a new city and environment has given me a clean slate, and I’m proud of myself for taking advantage of it.

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Grace is an English Education major at Florida State University. In her free time, she enjoys setting up her hammock and laying out in the sun with her friends. She is an avid lover of romcoms, green tea, and dad rock.