Day 27 - May 2, 2011

A Picture of You Last Year and Now and How You Have Changed Since Then

Jess and I :)  April or May of 2010

Last year at the end of my freshmen year of college:  I was sure of myself.  I was excited to have finished my first year of college but sad to leave my friends when we all went home.  I had crossed some hurdles with Ethan.  We broke up once and got back together, worked a lot of stuff out (for the moment anyway).  I made a few close friends that I truly feel that I will never lose or replace.  I can add a couple of more to my already tight-knit group from high school. :)    It was one of the toughest years of my life: my dad and I were not on good conditions; my grandma, who practically raised me, had a major stroke just a few days before I had to move into school; and it was my first year on my own, mostly with people I didn't know.  The on my own part didn't bother me as much as the rest, but it was still a factor.  When faced with my grandma's stroke and the fact that, once I moved in and started classes, I could no longer be with her every day at the hospital, being away from home was a little harder than it would have been otherwise.  I ended up making a lot of new friends and acquaintances though, namely Vanessa, Ashley, and Rachel, who are the handful that I mentioned above.  Once I finished my freshmen year, I felt like I knew who I was more.  I was more confident in myself and my abilities, and that goes a long way towards raising self-esteem and being able to handle stress.

That feeling grew even more as the summer went on.  I got a job on campus, in the cafeteria where I worked during the school year for my work study hours.  I worked there under payroll for the latter half of the summer.  I helped my grandpa to go through Grandma's stuff in her room, which I am now using when I stay with him.  It was a disaster area before I cleaned it out - he had me do most of it because he said it upset him too much to do it himself.  I know my grandma better than a lot of people, so I knew a lot of what she would want to have kept and what she wouldn't mind getting rid of - she'd been wanting to go through the room forever anyway, even before the stroke. What I wasn't sure of, I asked Grandpa about.  Doing that was sort of therapeutic for me.  Even though I didn't realize it at the time, it helped me to deal with the fact that Grandma was never going to be the same, and she was never going to be coming home.  Going through years and years of stuff that she had held onto made me feel closer to her.  I would come across an old, worn, folded up note, and instantly think, "This is just like her, to keep something like this for so long." She's a worse pack rat that I am, and that's saying something!

So last year brought a lot of changes to me, even if the ways they affected me were subtle.

Me.  A few days ago.

This year was a roller-coaster ride, but not in the same way as last year.  I became closer to my friends that I made last year.  Vanessa in particular, and toward the end of this year, even Rachel.  Though she is most likely leaving us and going to school in New York next year, and that makes me sad.  I feel like I was only just really getting to know her more.  I made a couple more good friends: Ashley and Nick.  "Little Ashley" (we called her that to distinguish from Ashley who lived in my suite, same Ashley as last year) is a freshmen (so is Nick) and was in my orientation group.  I was a Battler Guide this year, so I gave tours and helped with recruiting events at the school.  In this case, I led one of the freshmen orientation groups, which Ashley was in.  So we met, hit it off, talking and joking around, and have been good friends since.  She can be a little crazy (in a good way) sometimes, but we love her anyway. :)  Nick was a challenge.  I think he likes it that way.  He started off trying to hit on me (just like every other girl on campus) and eventually he gave up (or according to him, changed tactics, but I just ignored it).  We talked and hung out a lot, and he became, literally, my best friend next to Vanessa and little Ashley.  He's pretty full of himself, and we had more than our fair share of spats throughout the year.  He doesn't think before he speaks, and it makes a lot of people angry.  But he is a good person, and I'm going to miss him when he goes to WVU next year.  I hope he finds what he's looking for there because he was never really happy at A-B.  

This year, I've started (I think) to make amends with my dad.  We're never going to be like we were again, or even close, but recently things have seemed to be getting a little bit better.  I don't want to be one of those people who can't forgive their parent and becomes estranged and then regrets it later on in life.  I've already started to regret it, even though what happened was something that got blown way out of proportion and never should have got to the point it did.  I still don't feel responsible for the situation starting, but I do feel responsible for losing my temper with him a few times in the following months.  More than anything, I regret the moments that he missed in my life that were important to me.  I regret that we weren't close anymore and that we lost that.  But I've learned to live with it and move on, and hopefully, someday we will get past everything.

I really feel an even stronger sense of self at the close of this school year.  I have a little bit more of an idea of what I want to do with my life, though I'm still working through some things.  I know that I want to write, but that will probably be on the side.  I'm working on something with that right now.  I know I want music to stay in my life too.  I'll be practicing my flute a lot this summer so that I don't get rusty.  I'm doing flute choir again next year. :)  And I have definitely considered med school.  PA school is what I'm still leaning towards, but med school is beginning to look more and more like something I might want to do.  I'm not sure yet.  There's still time to decide, and more classes that I have yet to take that may help me decide.  

This year has also taught me to stand up for myself and what I believe in, more than anything else ever has before.  I don't just sit passively by and let people say things about me or something that I believe strongly in, as much as I may have done before.  I'm more willing to speak my mind, no matter who is listening.  I'm proud of that.  There is one person in particular who has helped me learn that lesson, time and time again, and I'm thankful for that.

I feel like this year, there have been more changes than there were at the end of my freshmen year, and I'm glad.  Corny as it may sound, I can feel myself becoming the person that I am meant to be.  I know there are still things that I need to work on, but I think I've come a long way.


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