Cheers to the Future

I’m not sure why I thought it would be easy to put the last four years of my life into words. A lot of things happened, both trials and tribulations. I came into college knowing exactly who I was, or at least who I thought I was. I was always so sure of myself. Then college happened. Life happened. Next thing I knew, I had no clue who I was, what I wanted or what I valued. I completely lost myself in the midst of my experiences.

Yet, those experiences are what shaped me. I experienced friendship in all its forms. The friends that become your family. The people you can call crying in the middle of the night in a city three hours away who are still willing to drive and get you. The people you can travel out of the state and explore a new city with. These people are compassionate, but brutally honest when they know, and you know, you messed up. Unfortunately, you’ll also meet people you thought were friends but couldn’t wait to stab you in the back. These people live to tear you down—and it's then that you learn who a true friend is.

I experienced heartbreak. The type of heartbreak when you think you’re on an innocent date and the next thing you know everything is wrong. You’re pushed to limits you never thought you’d cross. The type of heartbreak that comes with desperately wanting to be with someone that will never give you their all. The heartbreak that comes without closure. Though sometimes, you’re the one breaking your own heart. You make excuses for why it won’t work and that you’re fine on your own. You let the good ones walk away because you’re afraid of the uncertainty.

I experienced falling apart. The kind where you’re sitting on the bathroom floor, crying your eyes out trying to find a reason to live. The kind where no matter how hard you try it never feels good enough. The kind where you pile on responsibilities to the point where you can’t catch your breath. Even though falling apart appeared to be rock bottom, it was actually a blessing in disguise. Through falling apart, I finally sought out the help I’ve needed for years. I became passionate about mental health and an advocate for the cause. I became a confidant for those struggling.

These four years were full of mistakes but it’s important not to see them that way. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing. They bring growth, knowledge and resilience. I still may not fully know who I am, but my values have strengthened and I know the person I want to be. As I prepare to say goodbye to the place that has become my home, I know that it has shaped me into the person I am today. Just know that no matter what you’re going through, everything will work out and you’ll end up being the person you’re meant to be.

They say that college is the best four years of your life. I’m hoping that isn’t true because somehow, this feels like just the beginning. So, class of 2019, let’s cheers to the future.

All images provided by author.