So...you may have all noticed that I've been a little quiet with my posts lately. Part of that is explained by the most brutal weeks of finals I have ever encountered. All my final papers, exams, and assignments absolutely killed me this semester. I don't think I've ever been so sleep deprived, exhausted, or frustrated with school.
Then as soon as finals were over and before I really had a chance to recover, it was graduation...a weekend that flew by with ceremonies, receptions, family, and dinners. In the midst of these activities, I couldn't help but be, like many others, a little sentimental about my time at college.
Three years ago, I stepped onto campus bright-eyed and excited for my future, convinced it would last forever. I embraced college life - the dorms, the friends, the classes, the campus, DC, everything. I became completely absorbed into student life in DC - I had friends, passion for what I was studying. I loved my classes, my professors, and the intellectual challenges that I encountered. Freshman year flew by in a flurry of classes, new friends, and new experiences, and before I knew it, I was jetting off into Central and South America on my first study abroad trip. In that summer, many things happened, but among them was a sense of finding out who I was and becoming comfortable with it. That feeling has only grown stronger over the past two years as I've slowly started to discover what I like, what I don't like, and what I want for myself. Do I know who I am now? Will I ever know who I am? Probably not. But I take comfort in knowing that I will always be figuring it out in search of finding out what makes me me and becoming more comfortable with the uncertainty of never knowing exactly who I am.
I walked into college knowing I would graduate in three years, but I did not anticipate how quickly those three years would fly. It seems like yesterday that I was meeting my roommate, and now we're both moving on together onto bigger and better things. It also seems like yesterday that I landed in Berlin, Germany for my study abroad and felt instantly like I had finally found a place where I belonged, even though I had never been there before.
Over the past year, I've convinced myself that my upcoming year at the school would be like a senior year; after all, it would be my fourth year at school. But I'm realizing now that it won't be the same. I will be a graduate student, taking a different load of courses, interacting with different people in my classes, and away from my friends that graduated with me. It's time to accept that my undergraduate career is over; that although I will be here another year, the three years that I thought would last for forever have quickly come to an end. It even seems like yesterday that I started my fall semester, entering my first graduate level class and becoming both a graduate and undergraduate student, completely sure of what I was doing yet totally terrified and underestimating myself. This year was hard. I was challenged emotionally and mentally in ways that I had never experienced before. I was stretched to my limits academically and somehow found myself (miraculously, at times) meeting those challenges.
When I look back on my years, I know they have been filled with yes, lots of academics and all-nighters and papers, but they have also been filled with accomplishments, challenges, friendships, and invaluable memories. I would not be the person I am today without the friendship and support of various classmates, colleagues, and professors. Without them, I would not have made it through the long nights of homework and stressful exam seasons without completely losing it. I've completely changed since I entered college, and I consider that a good thing. Equal parts more sure of myself and even more uncertain of myself, my college career has ended, and I'm ready to move on to bigger things.