I think late August will always remind me of going back to school. Even though I’m not going back to school, I still have that “back to school” feeling – slight sadness of summer’s end, slight excitement of fall’s beginning, and a craving for new office supplies (who else can’t leave Target without gold foil-lined stationary?). This is the first September in NINETEEN years I won’t be “going back to to school”. Six years ago today was move in day of my first year of college. WHAT! That is so craze to think. I vividly remember move-in day. Both my parents helped me move in and I felt a huge lump in my stomach as they drove off in the evening. I remember searching campus for the counseling center with my father, so that we could reassure my mom I would be okay. And guess what? It was okay! My dorm room was HUGE, my roommates were fantastic, I actually started dating, I learned about my love for writing, my lack of talent in the art department (who let me be an art major?), and learned who I am as an individual.
My first year of college was both incredibly challenging and simply incredible. I learned more about myself and others than ever before. I struggled with Ed, but I also came to realize how the unimportance of counting calories and how insignificant weight really is. I relied on cafeteria food (arguably one of the better school cafeterias) and dorm-friendly foods like oatmeal and my biggest fear foods: peanut butter and apples. I lost weight, gained weight, lost it again and gained it again in an ongoing cycle. I ate a few scoops of ice cream on the floor for the first time in probably five years with a group of girls I hardly knew, I ordered late night Chinese food with roommates that I grew to call family, I openly discussed the regret I had afterwards, and listened to their own stories of struggles. I learned how “un-alone” I actually was and how much easier it was to open up to those who weren’t there through the worst of it. My roommates and core group of friends helped me to learn to let others in and to love myself.
While there certainly were bad days – heck, bad semesters! – it was far better for my soul than I think I realized it could be, which is why I think I’ll always have a sweet spot for this time of the year. I still feel like a college student – typing away on my laptop sitting in coffee shops struggling to stay awake – but a touch more grown up and a whole lot more confident. ❤