T-shirt, Old Navy | Skirt, Persunmall | Necklace, Target | Shoes, Target
Most college students get one freshman year.
I get the rough equivalent of four.
I get four terrifying, invigorating, angsty, novel, hair-pulling experiences--one, my real freshman year; two, study abroad in Bordeaux; three, study abroad in Oxford; and four, my return to an unfamiliar campus for my senior year.
As I navigate this foreign adventure, I can't help but feel a strong sense of déjà vu--this disorienting experience is uncannily similar to my freshman fall, only magnified by the language obstacles.
I wonder who my close friends will be (or, if I'll even find any kindred souls). I am both fascinated and terrified by my anticipated classes. I yearn to finally have a routine. I become emotional at the slightest of disturbances. I often find this new environment stressful and overwhelming. I wonder how life at home (aka college) is going, and whether my absence has left a hole--I hope it has, even though it's terribly selfish of me. I question my decision to take the more unfamiliar, challenging route. I crave comfort and stability. I am totally, horribly lost.
Everything is uncertain.
As another student and I waited indefinitely for a broken tram to start today, I suggested that we walk instead, declaring that I strongly dislike the uncertain. She laughed, finding it ironic that I decided to study abroad. I admitted that it was hard for me to leave--she countered that I would grow immensely this year. And that's exactly what I hope.
My freshman fall was trying--I took a difficult music course with sparse theory background, I struggled in disciplines in which I usually excelled, I daydreamed of what could've been had I gone to my state school, I wrestled with a running injury, I even bawled once in front of my professor.
But with time, college became my home, and I now feel as if my life didn't really begin until Amherst. I met incredibly supportive, resonant souls. I became more resilient, open, proactive. I was challenged and inspired. I began to stumble more gracefully, weaving each misstep into this wild waltz of life. And grow I did.
I see my life in phases--before and after close friends, before and after lifestyle changes, before and after major experiences--and I wonder how I ever lived in the "before".
I may never know what would've happened had I stayed. I may be dizzy with worry and uncertainty. But I'm here because I wanted a new "after". I wanted to become more.
And you better believe I'll do everything I can to make sure that happens.
P.S. A note on the post title--again, like freshman year, my life appears much more glamorous on social media when if fact it's still just my life, full of challenges--just different ones--in a place full of gorgeous architecture and tempting food. This is my attempt to share the more raw side of this experience.
As a liberal arts student/endurance athlete/violinist/fashion enthusiast, I find beauty in many spheres. Consequently, I have no idea where life will lead me. Here is where I document my journey to creating myself--soul-baring reflections, embarrassing photos, and all. Feel free to join me for the ride.