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How This Summer Became My Best and My Worse

Since I’ve become a Bruin, summer has always been a little bit of a challenge. As summer begins right after three weeks of the hell that is finals, it’s always hard for me to take myself out of the school/final mind frame and switch into regular Jaylyn’s mind. This summer was different, though. This summer was my first as an adult of sorts, my first where I was mostly independent. I decided early on that this summer would be one of my best—or I would die trying.

My summer began one day after my last final, on my first day as the Lineage Performing Arts Center intern. This internship would only be my second, but my first “real” job where I would be working full time—eight hours a day, 40 hours a week for 10 weeks. Exciting stuff, I know. I specifically applied to this internship because I wanted to gain experience in the arts, production and nonprofits, but I also applied because it was in Pasadena and that meant I could spend my summer living with my grandfather. With my grandmother passing away suddenly a year ago, he’s been lonely and I knew this internship would give me the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone—keep my grandfather company and have an awesome internship. I was both right and wrong.

Living with my grandfather was a trail in and of itself. As a 19-year-old girl blossoming into womanhood with a moderately active social life, living with a 74-year-old stubborn, grief-stricken man was at times difficult, but also amazing. It was difficult in that we both had different views and opinions that clashed at times, and we both were handling our grief in different ways. Mine was to listen to my old grandmother’s voicemails and cry until 4 a.m. every night and speak about her in present-live tense at work. As you can gather, this caused some frustration and heartache. So as the summer went on, I began to withdraw into myself at home and get out the house every weekend. But with the summer now over, I’ve grown to understand my grandfather’s grief is worse than mine, and I need respect how he processes it. I’m working to better process my grandmother’s death and my grief. I know things will never be the same in our relationship and family without my grandmother, but we’re all learning to move past it and come together.

To take my mind off things at home, I began to focus on the next school year, think about my future and get my start on adulting. Because I  decided not to stay in the dorms again for my junior year, the majority of the summer consisted of the horror that is apartment hunting. I was kinda surprised at the apartments and rooms available in Westwood being so depressing and nasty for that high of a price. Through many trails and errors I eventually found a nice, spacious condo to house me for the next year! Once I found a place I met up with my AMAZING mentor to budget the amount of loans and financial aid I would need, as well as plan out my monthly budget for the next year. This quickly showed me that adulting is not only hard, but it is also very expensive and stressful.

My mom always says I’m harder on myself than anyone else, and I guess she’s right (she usually is). Due to the stress of school and grief, I’ve developed serve anxiety, which has led to multiple anxiety attacks—like the one I had during my second week interning in front of my boss that completely scared the shit out of us both. I thought once summer started they would stop, but as you can see I was very wrong. It seems UCLA and the stress that comes from it follows you everywhere. I knew the reason they began earlier this year was due to the stress of school, the future, fuckboys and the dreaded finals. My stress and anxiety has gotten so intense that I haven’t had a period in four months (and I’m definitely not pregnant); I went to see an OBGYN for the first time because of this and he told me I was healthy but needed to see a therapist sooner rather than later, which admittedly was 100x better than hearing I was the next Virgin Mary and pregnant. I should probably stop watching Jane the Virgin.

This summer wasn’t all bad, though. I had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories. I passed my driving test, I walked on Melrose/Fairfax for the first time and Schoolboy Q rode past me on a bike, looked me dead in my eyes and said “fashion forward.” I won a scholarship, learned to do my eyebrows and I went to the DAMN. concert with my mom and had a BLAST. I finally started using Snapchat (shameless plug: follow me on snap @alyse_broadway), I got rid of a fuckboy and realized I’m a muthafuckin’ dime piece. I learned all the words to every song on “CTRL” and praised SZA everyday for it, went to a party in the hood and almost got shot, had a family reunion, grew close to my cousin, won a scholarship, became an aunt, upped my selfie game (another shameless plug: follow me on insta @alyse_broadway) and Iearned a lot about myself. When Drake said “started wearing less and going out more…hangin’ some girls I’ve never seen before,” I made those words my summer ’17 model and I’ve lived by them. Although the summer was difficult at times, it was wonderful, too! I did what Drake said: I went out more almost every weekend, wore less and tighter clothing to finally show the figure I’ve always hid and got rid of the fuckboy running my life and started hanging out my girls. I began to love myself and my family and be grateful for what I’ve been blessed with.

This summer was one of the best and one of worst. I left behind my girlhood and entered my womanhood. I became an adult, taking the first steps to become myself.

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