One Year With Her Campus: A Reflection, and Thank you

I feel funny writing this, as always, at the last second. But for the first time in a while, I feel very clear about writing something. It’s officially been a year I’ve been writing at Her Campus. I don’t know if I’ll be back to write again. I have a steady job now that has kept me busy most of the time and writing has kind of fallen by the wayside. Would I like to keep writing? Yes. But If this is going to be my last article, I wanted it to be special.

My first year at Her Campus was also my first year at Millersville. It was my first year back in college after taking a year and a half off. It was my first year at a four-year college. It was also my first year in a few years single, and in the past couple weeks I’ve been reflecting on a lot of things.

The girl that wrote her first article severely depressed. She had no idea she was on the tail end of the only relationship she has ever been in, she felt estranged from the few people she called her friends, and she was entirely unsure of her purpose and motivation. For a while I had been out of the gym, not caring about myself and wanted to make others happy. I wanted to be the good daughter, sister, and niece that went back to school and FINALLY got her life together. I wanted to be the good fiancé, one day wife, that would be able to provide a stable relationship and income for my partner.  I wanted to set a good example as an aunt. But I realized none of that was being done FOR me.

Coming to Millersville, I’ve met a few interesting people. I am so grateful to Her Campus for helping me put myself out there. While I haven’t been super active in the club, my confidence in voicing my opinion has taken me further than I originally thought. I ended my engagement, I’ve been single since. It had been the toughest decision I have ever made in my life. But it was a decision I had to make for both my sanity and his. I am falling back in love with myself slowly. I’m getting myself back out in the dating scene and understanding who I am, what I want, and where I want to go. I’ve been going to the gym consistently for five months now as well, and I’ve never felt better. Accepting myself for who I am, without the concern of anyone else, has allowed me to be steadfast in what I believe in.

Her Campus has helped me deal with the acceptance, and coming out, of being a victim of sexual assault and molestation. I had been very open about my past. I have been in therapy now since then. I go to group counseling every week to deal with my father’s substance abuse, my mother and my brothers. I see a psychologist a few times a month as well. They help me understand that my relationship, my family history, and what others have done is not my fault. But what I do for myself, how I handle my decisions and my future is on me. If it wasn’t for Her Campus and being able to step up and own my past, I’m sure I would be in a different mindset. I can admit my past now, and I can admit that I’ve struggled with substance abuse and alcohol problems. I’m working on dealing with that and my family.

The professors I’ve met, and the friends I have made at Millersville in this past year have opened my eyes. They helped me realize that I’m not a horribly messed up individual that can’t make friends. I have friends that are graduating, friends that are being deployed overseas, friends that have and will be transferring, and some friends staying on campus. Thank you to all of you for accepting me, and making me feel a lot better. Taking an hour and a half commute to class every day can be tiring, and seeing familiar faces makes me feel a lot better than I realized.

To the friends that have stuck it out with me in this past year, thank you. I will always feel bad about pushing people away in the time I had, but I cherish you all so much. Thank you for being there for me. In my breakup, in life changes, in my time of anxiety and uncertainty. You all have been sources of comfort and ease in my head when everyone else around me is chaos. Being able to reconnect with so many people has been a blessing I will never forget and I won’t take that for granted anymore. Special thanks to Brandon, Amanda, Jimmy, Joann and Stephanie. Thank you for always being there for me.

I know they’ll never see this, but a thanks to my family as well. None of them will ever read this, and I’m fine with that. None of them know I write, or that I love to write. I have built myself on the strength I gained from them growing up, and I know now that I am strong. One day I hope to have a blog to fully share my experiences. I want to reach out to victims of domestic violence and substance abuse. Her Campus has given me the first platform to truly speak about my past. It has been liberating. In this past year I’ve opened up more about my past than I ever had before. Hardly anyone had known about my sexual assault, the substance abuse and violence. I felt too ashamed. That I would never be a good wife or mother and that no one would really except me with all my baggage. But I understand now that is far from the truth.

In this year, Her Campus has taught me so much simply by being a part of it. I’m not a super social person, and I feel like I don’t have much to contribute to the world. But writing makes me happy. Being able to share my thoughts, feelings, and story with others on a platform like this makes me feel like I’m on top of the world.

Putting myself through college, working two (sometimes three) jobs, commuting three hours every day, maintaining activity in a club and balancing my life has not been easy. To be honest it’s been hell on me. I feel exhausted and worn out. I told my mother not to bother me a few days after finals are done, as I’ll just want to sleep when I’m not working. But thanks for bearing with me in this past year and reading my articles and following along.

I’ve come a long way, and I have a lot more to go through. But I’m grateful for all the readers in this year and all that I’ve gained. I have a wonderful job now, I really do love it. I’m slowly learning to love myself again and being surrounded by people that care about me feels amazing. Her Campus has been a wonderful gift to me in this past year, and I won’t ever take that for granted.