They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and this year… Well if nothing else, it has been an absolute whirlwind of classes, new people, far too many names, and of course, countless nights of fun to collide into what I now hold dear as the memories of my freshman year.
Just like that, it’s over.
These three quarters here were an entirely new experience, before I knew it independence came with a whole new name— college. Suddenly, we were expected to go to class every day (I only missed one), keep track of all the dates, pay attention to what books we need and what that fine print syllabus said about participation points, not to mention trying to stay healthy, keep grades up, and make new friends. All at the same time. It was like starting over, except we already had everything we needed to thrive. All that was left was to go out there and take a page from Nike’s book: Just do it.
So we did.
Every quarter brought new struggles and new experiences here, but I am blessed to say that my main group of friends stuck around since the beginning. It’s funny how some things work out— you meet someone one day and within a blur of new faces and names, they just seem to keep popping up until somehow, they’re all you’ve got. If you’re lucky, they’re all you need.
It’s safe to say, I got lucky.
Here at Cal Poly, that happened with a lot of things. Getting into this school in the first place was quite a chance to take, one that I can officially say I’m glad I did. After a year in SLO, I guess I’m kind of starting to like it here. To be honest, at first I couldn’t help but feel like I made a mistake— nothing could stop me from thinking that I didn’t belong here if I couldn’t even get in without asking them personally, this school was out of my league, this year was going to be a disaster… If I have learned anything this year, it’s that no matter what, we deserve to be in a place that can change your life for the better, despite what it might take to get there.
As far as I can see, my life is already changing.
I was worried about a lot of things coming in to this school year, but looking back at it, that’s how it was supposed to be. Like most first-years, I wasn’t sure I would make any friends, I could keep my grades or my health up, my roommates wouldn’t like me, and I wouldn’t fit in. In the end, I’m not sure I ever truly fit into the school, but I can say that I found some people to fit in with that feel like home to me. It just took a little time, and quite a bit of coincidence that my closest friend ended up in all my orientation/major groups too. As for the roommates thing, it was pretty weird to be thrown into living with two girls I had never met from an entirely different state, for the past 9 months. But I can tell you, those girls became two of my favorite people here, and it was kind of sad to watch them both pack up and leave this morning. If I have anything to say about it though, even if we don’t talk for a while, they’re at least coming to my wedding. Trust me, they promised.
As for the grades and the health thing… Well, let’s just say it’s an adjustment. As someone coming from a block-scheduled high school, I thought I was ahead of the game and I was about to show quarter system who was boss. I was wrong; but that’s okay. Because you would be surprised at how quickly adjusting happens, somehow you take things in stride, learn your limits, and absolutely start utilizing office hours. Those times are a lifesaver. And for next-year’s class and beyond, just remember this: When it comes to getting extra help, with anything in college from grades/tutoring to an ear to talk to, all I can say is do what you’ve got to do. It’s your life, you’ve got to find a way to not just live it, but thrive in it. No matter what, this is your time.
This quarter, I took thriving to a whole new level— I got my grades up (as long as my finals went as well as I hope they did, fingers crossed), I got out there and socialized a bit more, and best of all, for the past 11 weeks I have gone to the gym Monday-Friday at 8 AM, only missing 5 days total. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty proud of myself. Because sometimes, you’ve just got to do it. Even if waking up that early was as rough as I thought it was going to be, I know that I owed it to myself to become my own priority.
Now, I’m here thinking, I guess this is what growing up feels like.
When I left home in September, I was not quite ready to start over in a new place with new classes and new people. Yet here we are looking back and I have come to realize, you are never ready. It’s like asking my parents if they were ready for an empty nest— of course they weren’t. But we adjust anyway. This is what we do; we take on new burdens, new challenges, and push the boundaries of our own existence until you truly feel like you’re getting somewhere. If you think you’re stuck, try another direction. Because college this year, it was something different.
And as for my career path, well that is definitely another direction that I didn’t quite see coming. I’ll keep you updated on that one.
All I can say is, I wasn’t ready for my freshman year. But it was ready for me. So I took it in stride and did the best that I could. As my mom always makes sure to remind me, that’s all anyone could ever really ask for.
And now… Now I am just ready to go home.