Trees in bloom on my campus.
Two finals stand in my way of warm, summer days in bed and even more summer adventures. I'm going to take this time to just be immensely proud of myself, because I don't do this enough.
My first weekend of college was spent bawling my eyes out until my mom drove back and brought me home. After one night (which I also spent crying) I thought I was going to have to drop out and live at home for at least another year. Yet, somehow, I stuck it out and made the Dean's List my first semester.
When imagining college, I imagined a huge group of friends, hiking every day, and a lot of coffee. Basically what I saw in facebook posts. The coffee thing was true, but the rest wasn't (and isn't for most). My only friend was my roommate, and while I had people to talk to in class, I never actually made friends. I stuck to myself, in my dorm, and... I was happy.
This wasn't how I felt at first. The first few beautiful weeks I spent doing homework out on campus lawns watching other students walk by in huge groups. Like the facebook pictures. And I'd be laying there in the grass thinking, "Why isn't that me? How could I not have made one friend?" And yeah, I cried about it.
What I figured out, with the help of my grandma, is that... that isn't me. I grew up with only a few friends, girls who I still talk to every day and call my best friends. I am not the girl who walks in a huge group or knows a huge group, let alone one that hikes every day.
And that's okay.
Though my friends were not at college with me, I talked to them daily. I didn't need to be walking with tens of people across campus to feel close with someone or accepted, but it wasn't easy to figure out. When I finally did, my time on campus was so much more amazing, because I fell into "me" and felt comfortable in it.
Not only did I become comfortable in this new environment and myself, but I got through some of the hardest courses I think I will ever take (knock on wood) with straight A's. I mean... Go. Me.
Second semester was another big basket of lessons. I moved back home when Katelin moved in with my mom and I after us being apart for four months. That was a test unto itself seeing as she left Minnesota to return to Kansas the month we started dating. Now, we had been best friends for years, so it wasn't like two strangers dating and then moving across the country, but still: a big challenge. It was one of the hardest things I've been through, but I know it made us stronger.
Living together *permanently* was another big challenge and is every day, but it also gets easier every day as we learn how to better communicate and live peacefully (or not-so-much) side-by-side. We are rarely apart, which can make for some huge fights, but it means being with my best friend every day and it's a freaking blast.
This also means I became a commuter, and when Minnesota weather is as insane as it is... this is not an easy task. Let us also not forget I suffered from mono in February. I missed many a class, and believe me, professors don't like that...
I haven't gotten grades back yet, but already I am proud of what I have accomplished and gotten through. There was a lot of stress this semester, but I worked hard in letting go. I failed a lot, but I conquered a lot. A class I never wanted to take became a life-changer, pushing me onto the path of a Sociology major. That still blows my mind.
And here I am with two exams marking the end of my freshman year at college. Holy crap, that is crazy.
I am so. proud. of myself.
We really do not take enough time to say, "Wow, self, I'm really proud of you." Not even in the times that we deserve it so much.
So, here I am, taking a moment to look back on everything I've done instead of what I messed up on (we focus way too much on that...) and simply being proud.