I’m starting my first day of sophomore year tomorrow and while I’m not too certain on how this whole back to school thing will go, I know I’m okay with it.
If you asked me 2 months ago how I was feeling about this year, I’d have laughed in your face because it has been more than ~interesting~. It’s so easy to feel trapped in the things you can’t change and quite frankly, I haven’t handled any of it with grace. After leaving school abruptly, I was mad at the universe. After being away from most of my friends, I blamed myself for feeling lonely. I know a lot of people felt or still feel the same way. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 but I think that it’s so easy to forget what we have learned or gained from all of this chaos. I know I’ve learned more about myself, both good and bad than I did in the past few years combined. I’ve always taken pride in being the ultimate productivity superstar, balancing twenty things at once, and doing it pretty damn well. But this summer has made me realize being productive isn’t a personality trait and while pursuing anything you dream up is something to be proud of, needing all of those tasks to fill a void you don’t want to address is not. This odd time has meant something different for everyone but personally, it’s been about accepting change and making my present happiness a priority. Because I am such a planner, I tend to think of happiness as a future state; I’ll be happy when I do that thing or achieve that goal. And while an extreme sense of motivation and determination has been critical to getting me to where I am today, planning out the future is not exactly feasible at the moment. The fact that I have no idea what college will be like in three weeks terrifies me. It goes against everything I’ve ever known and been comfortable with. However, I’m slowly learning that handling these changes with optimism and grace is more powerful than ever. It’s all we have control over in these trying times. I am by no means a pro and I plan to work on it for the rest of my life but I’ve found a lot of happiness recently in accepting where I am and making the most of changes I would have previously been flustered over.
Last week I flew back to school almost exactly a year after flying to university for the first time. To make a long story short, flying to school my freshman year meant lugging all of my stuff over one thousand miles away, coordinating shipping, missing our flight, dodging a potential hurricane, and settling a car accident that happened while we were away. Needless to say, it was a mess. I am not going to lie and say I handled it well because I vividly remember crying at the airport when we couldn’t find a flight to get me to school for a silly event I can’t even remember now. What’s so funny about that experience now is the contrast of how I reacted to my situation last week, flying back for my second year. Keeping in line with the previous fiasco, I got to the airport and found my plane delayed for seven hours. Yet even though I was alone, lugging all of my stuff over one thousand miles away for a semester more weird and uncertain than the last, I wasn’t phased. I didn’t need to cry or be upset because I knew it wasn’t in my hands and I’d laugh about it the next day. It was such a poignant reflection of how much I’ve changed.
I have stolen, or perhaps borrowed, so many good habits and beautiful perspectives from people who wouldn’t even know. I can recall at least ten people who have made me reconsider how I react to change and how I choose to filter the world. Whether it’s setting an example by going with the flow in difficult situations or answering a facetime call when I desperately need advice, these people continue to make me such a better person and friend. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we can’t handle all of this alone. We have to rely on our relationships to get us through the difficult changes so they can rely on us in turn. This year has certainly been a clusterfuck but a necessary one if you know what I mean. I’m hesitant to say I’m ready for what’s next but what the heck, bring it on.