3 years down.

I cannot even comprehend the fact that one year from now I will be graduating from college.

I can still vividly remember the angst I felt shopping for my dorm room, pretending to be brave. I remember packing WAY too much and shoving all of my clothes into a tiny closet (I had an entire crew with me moving stuff in that day). I remember how hard I cried saying goodbye to my parents, because regardless of how close being an hour away is, it felt so much further than that. I watched them drive away from my window.

That was over 3 years ago.

I was preparing for a whole new life ahead of me. I had a whole 4 years ahead of me.

And now I’m one year away from the end of my journey… when did that happen? I look at who I was 3 years ago compared to who I am now, I am both unrecognizable (content with myself) and completely the same (a complete dork).

I wanted to showcase what college has done for me now that I am 3 years in, and I hope these lessons can reiterate to any parents or students that this is truly an experience that is unforgettable. It’s an experience that fosters growth in all forms.

These past few years I have lived.

I’ve been nervous walking into the first day of my internships or freshman classes.

I’ve been stressed as I have stayed up working on a huge project or study for a test I wasn’t prepared for.

I’ve cried from heartbreak of many forms, and confusion about who I was and where my life was headed.

I’ve laughed way too much on late night frozen yogurt runs in the middle of a snow storm, or running through a dark park trying to find a go pro (this was during the whole clown epidemic, so terrifying).

I have seen things that have changed me, hardships people experience, as well as my own battles.

I’ve loved with my whole heart. I have never regretted that, as that quality has given me both my best friends and a man I could not imagine life without.

I’ve challenged my character on my drives to see my family, looking at myself in the rearview mirror questioning the point of my values and why I find them important.

I’ve found my faith, and with that an inner peace with my connection to this world.

I’ve proved myself wrong. I’ve analyzed myself, I’ve accepted myself. Most importantly, I’ve grown into myself…a person I’m proud to be.

All in these 3 years. 3 years of just living my life outside of the walls of my comfort zone. WAY outside of my comfort zone.

My call log to my parents became more rare as each year passed by, my questions faded, my childhood slowly slipped away from me. As it should have. I developed a sense of self within my own individuality.

Frankly, I have learned the oh-so-real lessons of life and adulthood. I’ve seen firsthand the imperfections and messiness of life, and I have learned how to embrace those things for what they are… life.

I wouldn’t change any of it. Not even the times I overcooked my food or cringed about having to do my own laundry (writing this made me realize I need to go move my clothes to the dryer).

And now, I am ready to grow another year in order to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life.

These 3 years went by without a second glance, which prompts me to take everything in this year. I want to experience it in slow-mo. I am so thankful for my college experience, and to everyone who has been a part of it, from freshman year to now, everything in between.

Now, I am ready to be a senior. Let’s do this.

(I should probably go finish studying for finals now.)

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