Earlier this week I had a great time catching up with Eileen, one of my best friends from high school.
We don’t see each other much since we go to school on opposite sides of the city and are both pretty busy, but we make time for brunch every now and then. I didn’t even realize how badly I needed a break from the same routine I’d been following on campus, but I always appreciate meeting up because we get to have some great food, talk about our personal relationships, gossip about people from high school and ruminate on how much our lives have changed since we’ve known each other, and we’ve known each other since 6th grade. Our discussions always help put things in perspective.
We’re nearly two-and-a-half years into college at this point. It’s so easy to get sucked into the day-to-day of life here. I constantly forget/don’t actively think about my life in high school, middle school, etc. Days like Sunday, however, remind me of the person I used to be, my previous expectations, ambitions, hopes and dreams.
It really helped me to get away from campus. I had originally planned to just get brunch with her and then head back to campus, but we ended up staying downtown studying together for the rest of the day.
It took me an entire quarter to have anything to say about junior year, but looking back, it’s been a quarter full of lifestyle changes and lessons learned.
For one, three of my closest girl friends were absent from campus during fall quarter. That sort of threw me off. But it also let me form closer friendships with some others, and I’m grateful for that.
Additionally, I’ve identified and attempted to eliminate some bad habits that have been detracting from my life.
Drinking coffee, for one. The last time I didn’t drink coffee consistently was probably sophomore year of high school. Up until Thanksgiving of this year, I was drinking 2-3 cups per day. The nasty habit deterred me from sleeping well at night, and from taking naps when I desperately wanted/needed to.
Detoxing is refreshing. When you get used to a certain routine, you kind of forget what it’s like to be whole. To live on your own terms, and make your own decisions, not feel like you need a substance in order to feel alive. It’s like a drug that you’re psychologically and/or addicted to. When you eliminate the bad things from your system, it adds a well-needed boost to your mental health, despite the withdrawal symptoms you experience for a few days.
“If you want to do something, just do it.” I owe this strong but simple insight to Christina, who told me straightforwardly one day to stop beating around the bush and making excuses, because nothing productive is going to come out of that.
The alternative? Green tea. My friends will vouch for me that I’m a huge proponent of ~staying hydrated~, but green tea is actually a perfect substitute for coffee because comparatively, it actually allows me to concentrate and feel alert, without the negative side effects of letting me crash later and making me overly jittery.
It really helps to step back and put things in perspective. That’s one of the biggest takeaways I gathered from fall quarter.
Do you ever feel like there’s always something that needs to be done? Like, you have a million and a half obligations you need to take action on, move forward with? Whether it’s working on a project or keeping track of basic chores and errands or anticipating an upcoming test, that’s how I felt for most of fall quarter. From the lazy days of summer, I was thrust right back into my hectic, rushed college lifestyle.
I consider myself very lucky to go to a place like Northwestern. There’s no community like a college community, and my experience here has granted me so many new experiences and first-times. My high school self would never have imagined that my professional goals, my friendships and my personality would have evolved to this point. It’s such a change of pace from what I was accustomed to in Atlanta. Distance gives you clarity. I realized that the world is huge and diverse, something I didn’t quite grasp in high school.
Another thing I’ve realized is that, the fear of the unknown is irrational but also inevitable, due to the nature of the unknown. In high school, I drove myself crazy during the college process, beyond just the stress of just applying. It was nerve-wracking for my future to be up in the air. Now that I’m in college and looking back, I think it wasn’t that much of a big deal, but I wouldn’t have known to feel that way at the time. These days, I fear the internship and job application process, with similar sentiments.
It’s scary, but also liberating to think about all the possibilities. What will I do? Where will I work? Where will I end up?
Some days, I think to myself, I still can’t believe I even made it to college. Now, I’m plowing through the second half of my life here. The concept of ‘the real world,’ of graduating and moving away from all of my friends and the community and life that I’ve established here has started to become more tangible.
Because at it turns out, life is completely random. You can predict things only to a certain extent, and equations and algorithms will only get you so far. You have to be prepared for anything, any person or change in circumstance, any opportunity or disaster waiting around the corner. You have to be open to all sorts of possibilities. Change is often terrifying, but it’s also inevitable, so you better be prepared to adapt to it.
More thoughts coming soon, on makeup, friendships, writing and more! Stay tuned.
Here are some songs I’ve been listening to!
Saw Electric Mantis live earlier this week. It was great :)
I love Troyboi! How have I not heard this earlier? Thanks to Ekali’s Shambhala set from 2015.
I discovered this song in high school. It makes me so happy.