College: A Coming of Age Story

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.”
― Stephen Chobosky

“It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.”
― John Green

“Just remember this- weird’s good. Embrace the weird, dude. Enjoy it because it’s never going away.”
― Tim Tharp

All of these are pretty recognizable quotes from popular books about growing up and change. Friday marked the end of the first week of sophomore year. This has easily been the most uncomfortable week of my life. Everyone told me that this would be a huge change for me, but I don’t think I was really prepared. It’s strange how college fits every stereotype created in those indie coming of age films.

In this past week I have felt so many emotions, such as fear, sadness, anger, confusion, joy, and happiness. College can be a very lonely place, everyone has crazy schedules and very rarely do they fit together. The first couple of days were really though, at one point I seriously thought that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life, but after the initial fear disappeared and I came to grips with being homesick I decided to reach out to others. I began to make friends really quickly, I realized that I am not the only person who feels this way.

College can also be a very awkward place. It is a place where people learn and grown and change. I have already noticed things changing about myself: I have become more environmentally conscious, I have been more observant of others, I have had my eyes opened to new music and food, and I have learned that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and to take risks. It’s nice to not feel special, knowing that a lot of people are experiencing the same things I am makes me so much more confident in all the falls I have and will take (literal and metaphorical, that Den booth was out of my sight line).

My favorite part of college so far has been the people I have met and bonded with. I am so lucky to be a part of such a welcoming yet tight knit department. I have a small group of friends and we all just happen to very similar schedules. They are all so fun and friendly. I also have a group of girls who I bonded with instantly and they are so empowering and I genuinely feel like I have known them my whole life. My old friends are also just as wonderful and they have been introducing me to even more people who are equally fantastic.  The memories and relationships I have been forming are so beautiful and all of these people hold a place in my heart.

The first week of college is done, I have three more years. I can already tell that they will be the best three years of my life. To find a home in an unfamiliar place is going to be an adventure for sure. Here is to the unknown and awkward and uncomfortable that is making this experience so magical.

Sincerely, d.h.

P.S. This weeks album suggestion is the Paper Town’s Soundtrack

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Presence and the Joy in the Journey

“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.” – Rachel Marie Martin

In an age where the average person spends over four hours of their day on their phone it becomes hard to have a genuinely present connection with people. More often than not you will become distracted by texts, tweets, new uploads, and the latest scandal, all while trying to carry on a simple conversation. While living in this age of technology and social media has it’s perks, however it can also be pretty detrimental to one’s self-esteem. It is nice to be able to keep up with my friend’s and family’s adventures and all the beautiful things that are happening, but on the other hand it is easy to very quickly feel insecure about the path my life is taking.

I have recently been working on living a more “beautiful” and in tune life, not so I can post about it, but so I can genuinely enjoy the life I am living. So often we are out looking for the most Instagram-able moments, the funniest things to tweet about, or the next thing we can post about. As a society we are so focused on beauty, luxury, success, and wealth. We have  become so fixated on these things that we forget our personal goals and desires and lose our happiness in pursuit of living this “perfect” and “ideal” life.

As I get closer to the end of my teenage years “keeping up” becomes more and more daunting. I see people I graduated with who are getting engaged, married, starting families,  and buying homes. It can become very easy to get wrapped up in all of these successes, but you have to remember not many people post about the reality of the situations or the struggles and failures that got them to the place they are in now, just the beautiful parts. Social media encourages us to put our best foot forward, its like a website dedicated to a forever first impression. Think about how many times you have looked at a picture or read a post and made assumptions just off of that brief interaction. I know I am guilty of it myself.

I type this just as much for myself as for anyone else. I struggle with comparing myself and my timeline to other’s. I am constantly reminding myself to put down my phone and pay attention to the people I am with. In doing all of this I have learned to find the joys in small things such as: conversations that last into the early hours of the morning, sharing meals with people you love, car rides with loud music, sunsets, and the small labors of love that are happening all around me. I encourage all of you to go a little while without looking at your social media and instead spend time with the ones you love. Work on finding the joy in the simpler things life has to offer.

Sincerely, d.h.

P.S. The album suggestion for this post is Where the Light Is: John Mayer live in Los Angeles