After saying a final goodbye to my friends on Saturday evening, I was sitting in bed in my hotel room, capturing those firefly thoughts that tend to come to me in moments of transition.
Here they are, fleshed out.
EVEN AFTER 4 YEARS OF COLLEGE, EVERYTHING ALWAYS COMES BACK TO THE FACT THAT I AM CONSTANTLY EVOLVING.
A quick recap of my evolution through college:
Year 1 – a time of self discovery, trying new things and meeting a ton of new people. Before freshman year, I made a conscious decision to be more outgoing, and to go by the name Cat. Transitioning from high school was a bit rough, but really fun for the most part. Getting to know a new city that was pretty accessible to me was eye-opening, especially when getting to explore it with new friends. Freshman year was also when I decided to transfer to the journalism school and shift the course of my life, in the eyes of my parents.
Year 2 – settling down, looking for more, but also being reckless, in ways. Further discovery – of concerts and music festivals, a decision to shift away from campus and get to know Chicago on a deeper level. This was the year I moved off-campus to an apartment, started to listen to a ton of more music and express that passion by attending a ton of concerts, and made a bunch of new friends. Not all of this was without sacrifice and hardship, as my grades and health certainly took a bit of a hit, as well as my wallet.
Year 3 – a new relationship, friend drama, and professional struggles. People generally said that junior year was when people were looking for something more serious. I found love in an unexpected place. This year was when my friend group started to get smaller and more concentrated, leading to inevitable drama. It was a little draining. Additionally, the stress about finding internships and deciding what I wanted to do with my life wracked me. But it forced me to be more serious about pursuing my own professional destiny and get out of my comfort zone.
Year 4 – more friend struggles, new friend groups, learning to take better care of myself, being smarter and thinking towards the future. It was in this year that I became a bit of an old lady, that slept around midnight and woke up around 9am. I didn’t go out as much. Ironically, it was the year that I put the most effort into my classes and revv’ed up the time invested in finding a job and deciding what was best for me. It was accepting that maybe friend groups were a good thing if you found quality people to surround yourself with.
Four years of college taught me that my identity is constantly changing.
I always thought that I would be someone who preferred having many friends in different places over a unified friend group. Maybe because I have little experience in cohesive support groups where everyone knows each other, and big group outings. But it’s something that I’m coming around to, or rather the idea that time is valuable and relationships with people are better when strong, not numerous.
College taught me that the best thing to do is to surround yourself primarily with people that you can trust. That influence you positively, encourage you and enrich you. That participate in serious conversations and introduce you to special experiences.
I always thought that in some way or another, I’d be a content maker. I was always blogging, writing poetry, putting myself out there on Instagram or even learning how to edit videos for Youtube. But you know, it gets exhausting. Constantly checking social media, your own At the end of college, it took me a lot to realize that it’s OK to not be who you thought you were. To switch paths, to give up dreams that aren’t really dreams anymore.