Reflection: College Graduation

Before I start talking about new stuff, I want to reflect on what I’ve already checked off my list. I’ve been a college graduate for a whole year now, so I thought I could share a little bit about my college experience and what it meant to me.

It took me six years for me to finally graduate.  I started out at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega in 2008. I majored in Art Marketing and I was comfortable there. I lived at home, and pretty much had a bubble I stayed in.  I got tired of my comfort bubble and decided I needed to pop it. So I changed my major to Environmental Sciences and transferred to Emory University in 2012.  I also changed from a public university to a private liberal arts school.  While it wasn’t the experience I expected, it definitely got me out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot about myself.

What I expected was: I would move to Atlanta, make some new friends, get an awesome job there, live it up in the big city.

Reality was: I moved to Atlanta, made new acquaintances, spent most of my time studying and missing my people at home.

Here’s more about reality…

The move to Atlanta was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be.  I didn’t expect to cry when my parents and boyfriend drove off after moving me in, but I did (I don’t know if they know this or not). The realization hit me that I was about to embark on this journey alone (yes I went home on weekends). However, now I would develop a day to day routine alone, deal with homework and studying alone, make food for myself alone, and be all alone in my apartment at night. Pretty much everything changed and for people who know me I’m not a fan of drastic change, but that’s one of the reasons I needed this. I have always been used to alone time (I’m an only child) but it was weird seeing the people you usually see daily only on the weekends. However, I learned to eat alone at a nice restaurant and not feel weird, I gained confidence from changing a tire myself, and I became familiar with a new place.

It also turns out that I’m not very good at making new friends, who knew?(sarcasm). I can be a little socially awkward until you get to know me well (and even then the awkwardness surfaces every now and then).  I’m getting better at accepting this, and I’m getting less self consciousness (hence making a new friend is on the list). I did make some nice acquaintances though (the kind you sit with in classes and work with on projects). With some effort I probably could have made them “friends” but like I said, I had to study hard and didn’t really have time for that. I got really tired of being in school and was more than ready to graduate so I became ok with reading and studying being my most frequent past-time. And, you can call me weird if you want, but I enjoyed going home on the weekends to see my friends and family instead of partying with randos.

Emory surpassed my expectations when it came to keeping me on my toes. It was a very challenging school for me.  I initially wanted to get a B.S. degree (haha), but after sitting through one calculus class and one chemistry class I was intellectually humbled. I didn’t have a clue about the stuff I “should” have already known, and I didn’t have the time to go back and take the “easier” classes (not sure they would have been easier).  So I opted for a Bachelor of Arts and could skip those classes. Even with that route there were moments when I thought I would break my lifelong streak of all A’s and B’s. But due to having no social life and diligent studying I managed to keep my streak alive. There were also tons of unavoidable group projects and class participation grades, and I bet my introverted self produced gallons of stress perspiration during those two years (sorry that was gross).

BUT I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.  I met people completely different than me, learned to look at stuff from different perspectives, learned a lot of factual knowledge, discovered my love for nature, and even babysat for a stranger.  This time in my life taught me that I could do stuff I was afraid of, made me challenge myself, and made me appreciate what I have at home.

While I might not have a fancy job yet, and still live with my parents, it made me appreciate the friends and family I have here even more.  I missed them everyday and couldn’t wait to sleep in my own bed at home.  I would have never realized the comfort and support I have if I had never left it (and I think that’s the biggest takeaway).