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Reflections from a College (almost) Junior

I am normally pretty good about posting on a regular schedule, but I must admit that I have managed to stray from that quite a bit lately. I wrote my last post about two weeks ago, and since then life has become a blur of assignments, end-of-semester planning, and reflections on where I have been.

The other day, a stream of thoughts managed to pop in my head as I was packing up some of my belongings and planning for the end of the semester: “Awesome now I just have to fill out this brief form about storing my belongings for next year. Alright, let’s see, academic year 2017-2018, class year, um, third year—WOAH. Wait. What? Hold up.” I then sat in reflection for a few moments, amazed at how quickly life can pass us by. Memories from the past two years came pouring in, and I realized just how much has changed since I first set foot on campus.

Besides the fact that I am physically two years older (almost three, and 21, but that’s a reflection for another time!), I feel as though I have shifted my perspectives and visions. I laugh when I think about just how many items I brought with me my first semester of college, and how little I actually need to live on. I ended up falling in love with the unique charm of the older dorm on campus, after thinking I wanted to live in the new dorms all my years here. I ended up switching academic interests, finding my passions outside of my original interests. I focused on my passion for creative writing and turned it into an opportunity to build skills. And perhaps most importantly, I learned to love change.

I’ve talked about this before, but change is something that used to make me feel as though I had no ground to stand on. If my routine changed, it was as though someone yanked the rug of support out from under me and I was falling into uncertainty and fear. I would change the items that surrounded me, but never my surroundings themselves. Over the past few years I have done the opposite. I have thrown myself into situations that my old self would have nightmares about, situations in which I traveled by myself to stay with people I didn’t know and learn about things I knew little about. Situations in which I challenged my original opinions and purposefully went by myself to events that would allow me to expand my community. I abandoned my old routines and embraced discomfort and the unknown.

I never knew that I could grow so much as a person, and I know that the growth will only continue as I start to experience more of the world. I have become more aligned with body, mind, and spirit with my vegan diet, minimalist perspective, and spiritual path. Most of all, I feel as though I have a lot to be happy about. I think that the constant fear that I harbored within me put a limit to the happiness that I could experience. If something didn’t go to plan, happiness would most definitely not be the result. If I had to face a new experience, I would not enter with a happy outlook. But now, I realize that every experience gives you something to be happy about.

You can be happy that you found out something you don’t want to do again, or that you found out who you don’t want to be. You can be happy that you have the opportunity to take a warm shower at the end of a long day. You can be happy that you have a roof over your head, or a bed to sleep in each night. Most people have heard the saying “too blessed to be stressed,” and this rings true for so many aspects of life. Being able to experience academic stress, and to not have to worry about where you will stay for the night or what you will eat, is a blessing. Being able to experience what life has to offer is a blessing. This shift in perspective has meant that the last time that I had a truly terrible day was about a year ago. I have definitely had my share of bad moments in some days, but they no longer affect the day as a whole.

As I go into my third year of college, many adventures await me. New experiences, new places, new lessons. Though I still have to get through finals, I can’t help but be excited about the future and about the change that is yet to come.

©2017 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.


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