I spent a lot of time in high school dreading the day I would go off to college. As excited as I was to be on my own and begin a new chapter in my life, I was also terrified. I was afraid to leave home and afraid of what I would be missing when I left. I was worried about growing apart from my parents and I was nervous to be on my own. Everyone assured me that college would be the best four years of my life and while I believed that to an extent, I was afraid it would be some of the worst.
Now would be the time for those people to step forward and say that they told me so.
Granted, college has had its downs. I have had weeks of pulling my hair out, crying onto someone’s shoulder, or desperately smacking my head into the pages of my textbook. Sometimes all of the above. I cried for hours on the morning of my parents’ departure, leaving me behind to fend for myself in this big, new place. I’ve had my fair share of personal struggles over the years. Finals week continues to give me a splitting headache each semester. But all of those downs had their ups to go along with them. I had the shoulder of a new person to cry on. There were people sitting around me in that library as I drowned in my books. I ran into another crying girl walking back from my parents’ car. I wasn’t alone. This big, scary new place that I was in? It had other people going through the same thing. We were in it together.
People aren’t kidding when they say that college will be the best four years of your life. It will be. College gives you so many experiences that you will never find in another environment. For me, the best part about college has been the amount of learning that I have been able take away.
I learned how to eat out by myself without having to scroll through my phone. I learned how to ask strangers how their day is going and spend time learning about their backgrounds and who they are. I learned how to dress professionally in my everyday life and, more importantly, how not to dress. I learned how to maintain relationships with people without seeing them on a regular basis. I learned how to spontaneously jump in the back seat of a friend’s car and go to the bowling alley after the sun has gone down. I learned how to open my heart to love and how to give that love back to someone unconditionally. I learned how to learn and how to live.
I’ve learned a lot so far, and I’m sure my last year will teach me that much more. I also found myself throughout these last three years, and that helped me find out who it is that I want to be.