Growing Up.

These past two years at UCF have taught me too many things to count that you can’t put a price tag on. College isn’t all about the lessons you learn in the classrooms, but rather the life lessons that this chapter in your life teach you as well. Not even a year ago, I was in a completely different headspace: homesick, unsettled, and dependent. The complete 180 I did from my freshman year is astonishing and sometimes I can’t even believe it myself.

This year, I was fortunate enough to find my bliss in college. Nothing could have been better: I had the perfect friends, the roommate I think of as a sister, and even the boyfriend. Yes, the classes were pretty good too (thank you brain for that 3.9 GPA). Up until this point, I was never this successful on my own. I was always "Mommy’s Girl," glued at the hip basically regarding everything I did. Now, I’m not saying my mom still isn’t my best friend, but I am saying I'm more of my own person now; I have my own agenda. 

Be Authentic

When I was younger, I generally “went with the flow” and never really had my own opinions towards things, simply because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings if I went against them. It looks as ridiculous on paper as it sounds, but I was always too nice to everyone, even to people who didn’t deserve it. In more recent years, I learned I really can’t do that. If I wanted to make it in this world, I would eventually have to grow some thicker skin and speak my mind.

I was a naive, nice girl. I’d get taken advantage of and walked all over by people I used to call friends, but I learned I had to put on my big girl pants and get a grip. Because of this complete and utter blasphemy, I realized I was never my own person...before now. I make decisions for myself and not for anyone else because it’s my life, not theirs. I started doing things for me…(and FYI, self-care isn’t selfish). Living my life without caring what other people think is a current goal of mine — we’re not 100% there yet, but we’re most definitely on the right track.

The way you were brought up molded you into the person you are today, and you should be forever grateful for the people who helped you get there, but there comes a time when you have to make decisions on your own. Your job is to live your life for yourself. My sense of style really allowed me to create my own ”brand” for myself, as fashion allowed me to express who I was without saying a single word to anybody. Living life in my own "bubble" away from my family enabled me to discover my individuality because when it boiled down to things, all I had was myself in Orlando. 

girl sitting with nature, mountains Arthur Brognoli

Growth = Discomfort

As I experienced more of what this great, big world has to offer, I found that if I truly wanted to better myself, I would have to take risks. As humans, we consciously turn from uncomfortable situations — that’s just natural. However, if you want to broaden your horizons, you have to challenge yourself. Discomfort breeds growth. 

Family 2.0

Throughout all of this discomfort, you’re going to find new people to lean on. College forces you to make a new family — and no, I’m not talking about Greek Life bigs and littles...but I mean, whatever floats your boat. I’m talking about the people who you go to without a doubt in your mind that they will be there for you. Whether that’s your roommates or your best friends you met in chemistry freshman year, you learn to trust new people. You learn to trust your gut regarding who’s worth your time and effort and who’s not. Certain people will come into your life to teach you new things; you can’t rely on just what your parents taught you.   

Music Will Become Your Therapist

Don't worry, the sessions are free. When even the people who you confide in the most aren't enough, you’ll learn music will most likely be there to catch you fall every. Single. Time. When you simply can’t find the words to express what’s going on in that beautiful brain of yours, John Mayer most likely can. Music can seem to say the right things when others can’t, as one-way conversations can be better than two-way sometimes. 

spotify, phone, headphones, music Fixelgraphy / Unsplash

Growing up is probably the scariest thing you’ll ever do in your life, but we all have to go through it one way or another. The most crucial aspect of adulting is adapting. Change is completely and utterly terrifying, but the payoff can be beyond rewarding in the end. You have to let yourself be vulnerable; you won't know what could have been if you don't let love in. The ability to keep an open mind is priceless.