Welcome december-firstto the final month of 2016, when I am officially allowed to post Christmas themed photos and there is nothing anyone can do that will stop me. As of today, there are 23 days until Christmas, and if you couldn’t already tell, I am pretty excited. This month is filled with so many little things to appreciate, from family traditions, baking cookies, lights around houses, and a chance to look back on the last year of our lives before we move on to the next one. I was trying to figure out what my favorite part of this month might be and I realized that it’s something that makes me who I am, something that makes all of us who we are— the people.

After many years of celebrating the holidays with my family and the core friends I’ve had all of my life, I never stopped to think about what it would be like to do something different until I was thrown into it. Without being home for the entire month of December, I thought it would feel a little less like the holidays and a lot more like growing up. Pleasantly enough, I was wrong. Because I forgot about one thing— people like to celebrate things, especially when it comes with gifts and meeting new faces. From different events in my dorm to decorations downtown, special times of the year are still special no matter where you might find yourself. Even the club I joined with Nick, the Black Student Union, is doing a gift exchange today with hot chocolatecoffee and festivities on the side. When I thought about sitting around with a bunch of good people, relaxing and hanging out for a little while, that’s when I realized why I truly do love the holidays, and even just the idea of college. It’s not about the gifts, and it is certainly not just about the education; it’s about opening up to new things, finding new groups to be a part of, and making new traditions wherever we go to leave a piece of ourselves behind for the next person.

Last week when I was home for Thanksgiving, one thing someone said to me really stood out in my mind: “You haven’t changed a bit.” At the time, like I said this was less than a week ago, I agreed with them and laughed because I didn’t think I had. Yet somehow, yesterday I found myself going to the gym on my usual routine with Nick, studying as much as I usually do, and the biggest change of all, I found myself stepping even farther out of my comfort zone than before I left. Remember those A capella auditions I went to at the beginning of this quarter? I thought that would be my biggest step out, considering I never really sang for anyone but my family and occasionally, my close friends. I was always too shy to do it but when I came here to Cal Poly, I figured it was a chance to reinvent myself, so why not. Yesterday, before going to tguitarhe gym of course, someone passed through the common room and said she had heard that I could sing, so she asked me to play for her. And I said yes. Thirty minutes later, I was sitting in someone’s dorm room, serenading maybe eight of my friends as we all hung out and talked about music. That was the moment I realized that I had changed, maybe not a lot, but the moment was a big one for me. That’s when I knew that I was finally getting more comfortable in my own skin. I think that’s what college is all about, more than early classes or planning for a future, but figuring out who we are and who we want to be.

Slowly but surely, I think I’m finding my place here at Cal Poly. It’s taking some time, a whole lot of trial and error, and much too little sleep, but I know that I’ll make it there. With finals breathing down my neck, and a long to-do list before this quarter ends, these are busy times in many of our lives. But for me, it’s nice to find some security in knowing that this week, I took one more step towards making it through this next adventure in my life called college. With the little things the holidays bring and the people I will meet, some of whom I know will change my life, all I can say is thlittle-lightsat the future is about to be something very special. So happy last month of 2016, I’m ready to make it as beautifully memorable as possible. I hope you are too.

If you have anything you love the most about this month, from movies to traditions, feel free to talk about it in the comments below! See you next week 🙂

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