Running down a dream

Some parts of this semester did feel like a dream.

In the intense, laser-focused atmosphere of finals week, it’s easy to get so caught up in the stress of studying and the excitement of wanting to be done with exams that the memories from the semester mesh together in a blur.

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Remember in elementary school when the last day of school was just one giant “party” – complete with disgustingly sweet cookies someone’s mom made, a Disney movie and the chance to go around the room and say your favorite part of the year? Those were the days. (OK, maybe this was just at my school.)

The end of the year (or semester) in college is so anti-climatic. It’s kind of like when Heidi Klum says “Auf wiedersehen” to Project Runway contestants who were just eliminated –except there’s no kiss on the cheek, and instead of “Auf wiedersehen,” it’s “Grades will be posted on Canvas this weekend.”

At this point, the excitement lies in breathing the cool humid air after leaving an exam and knowing we did our best to end on a strong note. And I get it. I mean, this is college, and in the real world, we don’t get Funfetti cupcakes for turning in an assignment on a deadline. I don’t expect some groundbreaking, full-circle epiphany or inspiring thought to wrap up the semester in a pretty little package. It’s just funny how when we were younger, it seemed like any sort of ending automatically triggered (even required) a celebration, a happy dance, confetti and balloons.

Instead of thinking about the what-ifs and could-haves, or replaying the horrors of my Macroeconomics exam (adieu, real GDP and fiscal policy), I will remember the parts of my semester that truly made me feel like I was running down a dream – a good dream. And, in all honesty, these memories and moments are worth much more than any end-of-the-year celebration or crumbly cupcake.

I discovered and embraced my radio voice – an experience I never would have imagined I would love so much. I turned 20. I became a big sis in Phi Mu. In public speaking class, I gave an impromptu speech about two different ways to eat an Oreo cookie. (I only lost two points for laughing during the speech.) I did lots of writing, watched the sunset in the stadium (pictured below), had my fair share of movie nights, laughed a ton, became an ambassador for the J-School, went on a road trip, and lots more – and I did it all surrounded by amazing people in an amazing place.

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I rolled on, the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine

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Since Tom Petty lyrics never lie, I know there are still many great things waiting down the road. In my sociology class (which I loved), I learned about “turning points,” or specific moments that provide the perfect storm for an individual to form new attitudes, values, perspectives and behaviors. The description may sound a little extreme, but I find it fascinating how a single decision, milestone or experience can bring about such a significant life change. I think everyone can think of at least a few turning points that have altered his or her life course and have ultimately brought them to where they are now. 

I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for the new year, new semester and beyond. There are going to be some big changes, but I know it will be an adventure.

Here’s to relaxing (and bracing myself to step into the 9º wind),

Darcy

(PS: Speaking of dreams – this is my 50th blog post!)

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