There's Always a Light

 

Ever since we were little, we’ve been told that school will be the best time of our lives. Going into middle school, our parents lied and told us they loved it, and in both high school and college we were told they would be the best times of our lives. You’re told that the friends you make in college will be your friends for the rest of your life, that your high school days will be some of your best memories, and that once you graduate nothing will ever be the same.

As a graduating senior, I hope that the last four years aren’t the best times of my life. I’ve dealt with finding myself, some pretty ugly housing situations, and learning the basics of self care.  College and high school definitely aren’t where I peaked.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for both high school and college. I went through both with a smile on my face, hoping to get through alive. High school was full of self doubt, giving myself to others, and constantly second guessing my self-worth. I look back and want to smack younger me for doing that  - I was a leader, a hard worker, and someone who always put my all into anything, everyone, and everything that I did.  I kept myself busy by being in honor societies, doing the school musicals, organizing poetry slams, and running the school newspaper. Outside of high school, I worked a part time job, spent time with family and friends, and tried to keep myself as busy as possible. I overworked myself to keep things together, and that lovely, but terrible, trait is something that followed me into college.

I entered college terribly afraid.  I didn’t want to go to college, didn’t get into my dream school (no offense Mville), and was so afraid of not belonging.  I didn’t want to lose my high school friends, I was afraid I wouldn’t make new friends, and had this odd feeling I would have a break down during college.

Well, Freshmen year wasn’t too hot. After losing a family member in the second week of school, I lost some opportunities to make friends and mingle at school.  By the end of the semester, I felt like I didn’t have friends, especially after getting screwed over for housing from my group of close friends, and was hoping to see a light in distance in the upcoming Sophomore year. Freshman year was held together by a friend at home who would spend time with me, my dad who would let me come home whenever I wanted, and my advisor, who reminded me that I was bright and would go somewhere one day.

Sophomore year was no better. I ran into quite a terrible housing situation. After being threatened by a suitemate, losing one too many fish to interesting circumstances, and going back and forth with res life, I was exhausted. The worst part was I had been dragged into the fight with the problematic roommate by others, who didn’t want to stand up for themselves. In the end, we all were relocated to new rooms, despite only one girl in the suite being the problem.  Going into the next semester, I was hopeful, until Res Life changed my housing assignment last minute, screwing me over, and putting me into a single in Founders.

Now I know what everyone is thinking, Screwed Over? Res Life gave you an amazing housing situation! Well, not for me. I’m not the type of person who does well alone, and living alone for an entire semester led to an increase in anxiety, segregating myself, panic attacks, and a drop in my GPA. I found myself going home every weekend, working to ignore the mental pain, and hanging out with friends who were home at community college, who truly saved me in the end from having no social life.

Entering Junior year I was excited to finally be living with people I knew, who had seemed to have changed for the better, and I was excited to maybe have a good year. While things were still a little shaky, things over all seemed to be going well.  Of course, there were bumps in the road, and senior year came the same way.

What I’m getting at is I didn't enjoy college. I actually hated college, I’m so excited to get out of here, that I’m graduating a semester early.  I learned a lot in college - I learned how to be an individual, to let go of toxic people, I learned how to handle things on my own without counting on my dad to always be there, and I learned how to be me. I like to write, paint, bake.  I like to go on drives, see different sight, and go on even the smallest adventures.  I love Magic the Gathering, enjoy video games, watching Jane the Virgin and Stranger Things. I love giving people presents, making moments that will last forever. I always think before I act, whether that’s a good thing or a bad, and put my heart into everything I do.

I didn’t find all this out on my own. I had the help of friends, ex-friends, roommates, professors, dad, family, cousins, and co-workers who all made me realize these things.  I learned the Adobe Creative Suite, how to do every type of marketing project imaginable, and how to work as a team, and these are the important things I can take away from college.

I guess what I’m saying is, yeah, college wasn’t the best four years of my life. In fact it may have been the worst four years of my life, but I’ve come to terms with what was positive from it.  And I’m looking forward to what’s coming.

Am I afraid for the real world? Coming at me in a month? Absolutely. But at least I know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m excited to finally be able to paint my picture, leave my mark, and show the world what I have to offer.