Every time my family or friends remind me of the date, how much time is passing, when school ends, or how long I’ll be home in, I almost don’t believe it. I’m well aware that school ends this week but it’s almost as if I don’t want to process that my first year at college is coming to a close.
Even typing that sentence seems bizarre. One year already down? It feels as if just yesterday I was having my parents help me tug on the mattress topper and take a picture of me as I stepped through Sather Gate for the first time. Now, nine months later, I’m about to leave the school that I call home. I understand that my need for dramatics is far less than the seniors, who will be leaving this school permanently, but I am still uneasy about my freshman experience at Berkeley being almost through.
The halls of this school have seen me laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably, and make some of the memories I’ll treasure for a lifetime. This first year of college has changed me in more ways than I’m even able to recognize at this moment, and this school and the people around me have helped me blossom so much in such a short span of time.
During most of my first semester here, I felt alone and like something was missing. It was evident to me that this wasn’t my home, but rather, a place where I was staying for a period of time. It was just something I had to stick out and make the best of. The adjustment period when first moving to college and transitioning to life here is one that cannot be understated.
But by the end of winter break, my heart was telling me that Berkeley was the place for me; it was my home. The second semester here proved to be an action-packed one where I was constantly surrounded by people that I loved in moments of joy and celebration, even during the simplest of times. I found my people, and I’m so grateful that I did. Berkeley has taught me so many lessons in the year I’ve been here, and I truly cannot wait to see what I learn next about myself and about the world around me.
With that said, I’m more than used to Berkeley now. When I say “home,” I’m no longer referencing sunny Miami, but breezy Berkeley, so leaving here for the summer is a hard pill to swallow. Sure, I’m excited to see my friends and family, but endings are incredibly difficult. I’ll miss the seniors that I see as my second family, I’ll miss stepping out of my dorm, walking down the hall, and knocking on my friends’ room door to hang out at any given moment.
It’s a lot to say goodbye to, seeing people you know everywhere you go, taking spontaneous karaoke trips to Jaguar, and deliriously pulling all-nighters in the study lounge with some of your best friends. The closeness and shared experiences of freshman year are something that I will never take for granted again and something I will always treasure. But while endings are incredibly difficult, they open up space for the new chapters of beginnings, and I’m exhilarated to see where my new beginnings take me.