Where do I begin?
Well, for starters, I just finished my last math class EVER. I have been dreaming of this moment since 7th grade Pre-Algebra.
Equally important: I just finished my freshman year of college.
As I look around my dorm room in good ‘ol Jennings Hall, I can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia. I remember moving in with my parents in the August humidity. I remember sitting on my bed watching stupid Lifetime Christmas movies with my friend Kim. I remember painting sorority crafts/turning my desk into a carpentry workshop as I tried to cut wooden letters with scissors (it was a disaster). I remember making and arranging my dorm decorations – the photo garland, the chalkboard frame, the cork boards, everything. (I also managed to go the entire year without any cockroach/weird bug encounters, which is an accomplishment within itself.)
In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health (actually, though), this little cinderblock abode has become my home, and packing up makes it seem all the more temporary.
Going to college far away from my (real) home is not always the easiest or the most convenient, but this is the experience I chose, and I am certain it has changed me for the better. After all, without the awkward beginnings, the uncomfortable situations where I didn’t know anyone, a roommate debacle (it happens to the best of us), multiple embarrassing occurrences, and moments of frustration and triumph alike, my freshman year would have been pretty bland. Through the ups and downs, I’ve learned to keep my head up, focus on my dreams/goals and enjoy the laughs and happy memories.
I feel lucky to have found myself surrounded by lots of amazing people who have transformed Gainesville, Florida, from a random dot on the map to a place I can proudly call my (new) home.
And so the cycle of new places, new people and new adventures continues.
I embark on my study abroad trip to Spain and France in FIVE DAYS. In a way, this feeling is a familiar one – it reminds me of when I was getting ready to leave for UF in August; I was hungry for newness, and it felt surreal for a long-awaited date to no longer be so distant. On the other hand, this is going to be unlike anything I have ever experienced before. The idea of living, studying and exploring in Barcelona (among other locations) will soon be my reality. I get that nervous-but-excited feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I think about it. I am lucky to have this opportunity, and I am honored to share the details of the trip on behalf of the UF J-School. One year ago, I would never have dreamt of having this experience as a rising sophomore.
The sun is setting on my first year of college, but this is hardly the end.
To be continued…