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Experiences

How Summer 2021 Changed My Life

I’ve met too many people that talk about these small periods in their life that marked a significant change or growing experience. When I’d hear about them, I’d simply laugh it off and wonder when such a growth spurt would hit me. 

Then, it did. And it hit me like a truck.

This entire journey started back in April. I was focusing on work and school, looking forward to new things coming. I had my occasional minor inconveniences but can say that I was in a good place emotionally. And then, I gave into a proposition that had been offered to me for a few months: going on an invite-only app. 

My long-term friends and I had never heard of this app before. I guess you could say it was some coping mechanism for the global pandemic and a successful attempt at reviving young adults’ spirits. I only knew about three people who were on it, and none of them were close friends at the time. I told myself that I only lived once, and mindlessly set up a profile.

What could go wrong, right?

Looking back, I can say that a lot went wrong yet it all turned out to be okay. Let me explain.

First off, most of the individuals I encountered lived in different states and were significantly older than me. Everybody was in a completely different life stage; they were either out of school and in the workforce or completing an advanced degree like a Master’s or Doctorate. It was hard to not feel out of place — and far too easy to compare myself to those who were enjoying the fruits of their hard labor.

Once I began to overlook the significant age gaps that I came across, I went down this rabbit hole of games that involved embarrassing questions, laughing at skilled photoshop work and witnessing introverts seeking advice on how to become toxic for the summer. Being stuck at home, we couldn’t help but enjoy the trivial things that happened online.

However, I also began to take note of some significant negatives. I witnessed and experienced some crude cyberbullying and found myself gaining and losing friends left and right. People began showing their true colors, and I found myself evaluating what kind of a person I wanted to become. Occasionally, I’d ask myself why I wasn’t as lucky as some of these people I’d gotten to know and began questioning my own self-worth. One particular friendship resulted in an intense falling out that had me reevaluating my values and attitudes.

Suddenly, I found myself valuing privacy and alone time more than ever before. I desired to do the activities I had been dreaming about, such as fitness and dancing. I wanted to fully commit myself to accomplish my goals and keep it all to myself. Currently, I feel like putting on an invisibility cloak and pursuing my goals underground. In these short four months, I’ve also grown a strong desire to examine my bad habits and better myself one step at a time.

I have dedicated myself to, in the words of a TikTok sound, “girl-boss too close to the sun.”

Tala Amalfard is an Advertising/PR student, born and raised in Tampa. When she's not writing, she's watching movies and tv shows older than her, doing random dances in her room, or going on long drives blasting music she discovered on Tiktok. Tala hopes to use her creativity to inspire the world, however that manifests.
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