To be honest, a part of me was rather upset that I wouldn’t spend my sophomore year abroad like so many students. I attend a small, private university, so my study abroad options have been limited to summer semesters. However, as my first day of my sophomore year is coming to a close, I couldn’t be happier to be back at my beloved university. In the wake of my battle between wanderlust and university life, here are just a few thoughts from today…
Studying abroad as a freshman has changed me. Despite the financial reservations I had (is there really such a thing as a rich college student…?), it was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a young adult. Granted, getting square donuts at three in the morning during finals week while wearing sheep pajama bottoms also constitutes as a “best decision”, so…. Seriously though, traveling to a different country to study a language and a culture pushed me out of my terrified freshman shell. I’ve come back to campus with confidence and a view of broader horizons. Yes, I miss travel, but I also love the adventures I find on campus.
Somehow between my first college boyfriend, a breakup, drastic friendship changes, a bad roommate, saying goodbye to senior friends, studying abroad, returning to blogging, and a full time nanny job *wipes sweat off of forehead*…. I managed to really find myself. In high school I spent a large majority of my time trying to fit in. During much of my freshman year, I found myself doing the same thing. However, I’ve come to realize that people can’t live life in the shadow of others’ thoughts and opinions. You have to make your own and be willing to share them. When you do, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who like you for you. If those people happen to mostly be professors, then so be it. I’ll show up for class early if I want. I won’t spend ridiculous amounts of money on expensive coffee. Studying after the first day of class is considered cool in my books, and I won’t hide in my room to do it. And if I want to wear a dress with a blazer (my first day of class garb), I certainly will. Yes, I’ll be much more dressed up than the typical athletic shorts and t-shirt wardrobe. Yes, some people might give me a strange look. However, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see anything strange. I see someone confident in who they are—someone who doesn’t mind defining their style and brandishing their nerd status with pride.
People are fragile. People are strong. Somehow we manage to be both at the same time. Last year on this very night, I curled up in bed and cried myself to sleep. I felt lonely and abandoned. Tonight, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Shakespeare class with one of my favorite professors. One of my closest friends is my roommate, and I probably couldn’t be more content. Within a year, I went from drowning in depression to learning to swim through life despite my anxieties. I’ve watched an entire school grieve over a suicide, and I’ve watched my own scars fade. It has only been a year, but I’ve grown so much. While I know this year will target my fears and insecurities, I know that I’ll come out stronger than ever before.
Also my textbooks are really heavy. 😉
I know not everyone has started back to school, but I’d love to hear your first day thoughts whenever you have them!