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My Personal College Reflection

I have been putting off writing this post since quarantine began, which has been intentional. Honestly, it's mostly because it hasn't fully hit me yet that the second half of my senior spring semester isn't happening. The reality of this situation probably won't occur to me completely until I'm looking at this time retrospectively. I am holding out hope that our graduation ceremony being postponed (instead of canceled, which I'm so grateful for!) will help alleviate some of the sadness that has come along with missing out on the last weeks of senior year. So, that's been helpful as a little way to have something to look forward to among all of the uncertainty.

The last four years have been far from perfect, but I loved my college experience. I wouldn't change a thing, and today I am excited to finally address closing the college chapter of my life, far more abruptly than expected. 

Four years ago, I was completely committed to a different school and a different relationship. Two of the biggest things in my life four years ago are hardly relevant to me now. My priorities have completely changed, who I am is completely different. Somehow, everything worked itself out. I always say everything happens for a reason, and as cliche, as that sounds, it's so true. I am happier than I expected, with the end result being nothing that I ever expected. 

I didn’t want to go to Madison out of high school. I wouldn’t tour, I wouldn’t apply, I wouldn’t even talk about it as an option. I wanted to go to school on the east coast for my entire life. Sophomore year of high school, I realized that meant Lehigh... and only Lehigh. There was absolutely no changing my mind. As it turns out, transferring to Madison is the second-best decision I’ve made in my life, only second to starting this blog. It is something that I did for myself, with no one else to influence me, that I will never regret. I am incredibly grateful for the 3 years (more like 2.75, thanks Coronavirus) that I have had at Madison. But I am also grateful for that first year at Lehigh, too. Both schools taught me so much... and I am lucky I got to experience both.

I’ve said it before, but I don't regret that I went to Lehigh. For my entire life, I wanted to go to school out east, join a sorority, and have the life I had there. It wasn’t until I had that, that I realized it simply wasn't the right fit for me. That's it! There was no "one moment" when I knew I wanted to leave Lehigh. I always get asked why I transferred, or how I knew, and there wasn't a big event that happened. It simply wasn't right for me. Going there was the only way to figure that out, and I’m grateful that I got to have that experience. Without it, I never would have ended up here.

When I got accepted to Madison, I knew immediately that I was going to go. 
The rest is history.

The biggest difference between my freshman and sophomore years of college was simply that I felt like I was in the right place, at the right time, exactly where I was meant to be, at Wisconsin. I had kind of felt like an outsider at Lehigh because I wasn’t from the surrounding area, and on top of that, I had a less-than-perfect freshman roommate experience and didn't enjoy being in a long-distance relationship. Those were a few things that just drained me and made me unhappy with where I was.

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college I attempted to continue being a part of Alpha Phi (the sorority I had already been initiated into at Lehigh), but it was just different and I didn’t really like it, so I dropped. It seemed like a big deal at the time, but it really wasn't. There was like a two-week period of "what's going on," and then I moved on, and I haven't really thought about it since. I took fun classes, rekindled high school friendships, joined a few clubs, and had a ball sophomore year.

Junior year of college was hands down the most impactful year of my entire life. I’ve talked about it before and always kept it kind of vague, but it really was just one of the best years of my life. Foremost, it was a huge year of personal growth for me. I learned so much about myself, relationships, and what I want in my life. I moved in with my best friends, made huge strides with my mental health, had a little fling which turned out to be a disaster but taught me so much, and went on the best spring break trip ever to Mexico with my best friends.

Senior year has been short, but sweet. First semester was a blur. I don’t even know what we did. Lots of game days and freaking out that we were seniors probably sums it up. This semester? Even blurrier.

And just like that, it’s over.

I’m probably being dramatic, but college changed my life. I am not the person I was in high school, at Lehigh, or even when I first transferred. And that’s a good thing; growth is important. As a senior in high school, my priorities were the acceptance rate of my college and the size of clothes I wore.

Not every single day has been incredible at Madison, don’t get me wrong. There have been a LOT of tears, more mistakes than I’d like to admit, and many embarrassing moments. But that's life. There have also been a million memories, lessons, laughs, smiles, happy tears, and people who have changed, shaped, and bettered me. 

There have been more highs than there have been lows, and that's the best part. I am so grateful to have been here, and I’d take a shorter college experience over any other experience.

I really feel like college and all of its crazy experiences and adventures led me to figure out who I am, and who I want to be going forward, as cliche as that sounds. I’m easygoing, honest, friendly, open, and lighthearted. I’m excited, enthusiastic, fun, and down for anything, all the time. I have a positive outlook on my life... and I am really happy. 

I'm not trying to gas myself up; I just really didn't think of myself as having those qualities four years ago, and I'm proud that I do now. Four years ago, I was not those things. I was obsessive about everything I did. I was selfish and distant with most things I did. I was hesitant, scared, and unnecessarily apologetic. I think a big part of it is just growing up, but still... I think the college experience I had shaped so much of that.

I am grateful for my education and my college experience for everything it taught me, and for all of the ways it has shaped me. I am even more grateful for the people who were next to me all the way through. The last four years have meant so much to me. I really feel like I had the best experience that I could, and I am so grateful for that. As sad as it is that it ended early, I am so fortunate to have made the memories that I did along the way. I will cherish them forever.


College posts from the archives...
Announcing that I'm going to Lehigh

First semester Freshman Year when I realized I might transfer

What I wish I'd known on decision day

Falling in love with college Sophomore Year

The beginning of Junior Year

Junior Year reflection

One month into Senior Year

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