As December 17, 2016 approaches, I am eager, anxious and excited for graduation. This last semester for me has been incredibly difficult, but once I walk across the stage and receive my diploma (in the mail) I know everything will have been worth it.
I live an hour away from campus and my job. Why? Because my boyfriend wanted to move back home to Trumbull county (where he works). So we moved in August. It is nice to live near friends and family after being in Kent for the past four years. However, it is the sole reasoning behind my stressful “last hurrah” semester.
I commute 4 days a week for class, because I only needed three more classes and they didn’t land on the same days. I work every morning before school and make the loathsome trip out there once more on the weekend. I wake up at the crack of dawn to make sure I look nice (I work at a salon so I have to) and make the commute to work. After work I head to class. When class is over I head home, normally arriving rather late. I cook dinner, clean and tackle homework before preparing for the next day. Then I shower, sleep and repeat.
So why not get a closer job? Why not go to Kent Trumbull? Believe me, if it was that easy and worked I would be doing it instead. But that just isn’t how life is.
But even after all of this, the feeling of having that piece of paper in my hands will be more worth it than anything else I have ever done. I get to graduate even though this semester has been so difficult. I completed something, even though I wanted to quit so many times. Even when I had car trouble and literally could not drive anywhere, when my assignments overwhelmed me and everything fell apart, when I had to leave class early to make it in time to my grandfather’s calling hours because I had to work during the funeral the next day. Even when my whole life seemed to be crumbling, I can say that I did it, me and me alone. I took everything the world threw at me, and I still did it.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
With this particular semester aside, I have loved every minute of college at Kent State University. I started college in Olson Hall freshman year. I was very nervous and knew no one. I grew up rather sheltered in a small town where everyone knows everyone. The first few days were terrifying. I actually had to leave my dorm room and talk to people. I had to walk, BY MYSELF, to a dining hall to eat. Oh, the horror! I had to walk 10 minutes to sit in a huge classroom of 200 people that I didn’t know, on my own. I had to try and make friends, something I really hadn’t done since kindergarten.
During Welcome Weekend, I remember walking to an ice cream social in Franklin Hall with my roommate. At some point my roommate ditched me. I found myself alone in a room with a hundred of other journalism students and *gasp* the professionals running the event wanted us to walk around and socialize before receiving any said ice cream. Petrified, I would have to talk to people, I abandoned the ice cream and snuck out a back door. To this day I am still unsure what part of “ice cream social” escaped me. I think the idea of ice cream blinded me.
As I was escaping the fearsome socialization I noticed another girl who seemed to have had the same idea (however that wasn’t the case). For that reason, I found the courage within myself to communicate. We ended up talking all the way back to her dorm hall, which happened to be the same as mine and she lived on the same floor as me too. Destined to become friends, we swapped numbers and from then I would bother her so much she had to be my friend.
Fast forwarding, we became decently close and our whole group hung out every Thursday at Quaker (for which I blame my weight gain). We both applied to be RAs and went through the entire rigorous training together. She got a position, I did not.
The Beginning of the Middle
Sophomore year I was stuck working at my high school job, Kmart, and commuting to school twice a week from my mom’s house. I was on campus from 8:30 in the morning to 7:15 at night. It was hard. I was trying to find a way to live on campus for the upcoming spring semester, but with no luck. However, in November, I received a phone call about a RA position opening up. The stars had aligned! I immediately accepted, of course after calling my ice cream social friend, Melanie, to share the news. I moved my stuff in right before Thanksgiving break. I had just become a RA to a floor entirely made up of men. What an adventure that was. Junior year, I remained a RA, only that time with girls.
During junior year, I started to find myself. I knew I was in the right major because I really enjoyed all my classes. I turned 21 and had some really fun (and not so fun) nights out with my friends, I started a beauty blog for The Burr and I applied to take classes with the Fashion School in N.Y.C. I was accepted and began saving money for my move to the Big Apple.
The End of the Middle
Summer 2015, I moved to New York City. I was terrified and several times told my mom I did not want to go, but having already paid the nonrefundable $4,000 to just live there, I had to go. My mom and my sister drove me there and helped me move my things into my small New Yorker Hotel dorm room that I shared with two other girls.
The first week I was there, I finalized my required internship at a bridal magazine by being incredibly persistent. Once classes started I only left my room to go to class or my internship. Soon realizing I couldn’t live off of Chipotle and Dunkin’ alone (and after becoming very bored) I had to start adventuring. I started attending the floor events, the programs the RAs put on outside the hotel and basically just started wandering the crazy streets of Manhattan.
I figured out how to use the subway system by getting lost one day and ending up in Brooklyn. I became close with my one roommate (the first thing she said to me was a compliment toward my winged eyeliner, so how could I not?). We explored essentially every street of Manhattan. I did all the touristy things and things that only New Yorkers knew about. I attended fashion shows, magazine and advertisement shoots and promotion parties. I had pieces I had written published by my internship, I made a magazine with my class, and I visited, not one, but two famous magazine companies.
There were times that the city was overwhelming and at first I was scared, but later I mostly found it exciting with opportunity oozing from its core. As I left, heading back to rural Ohio, I had grown into who I am. I left with a sense of independence and courage I hadn’t had previously. I left with, as cliché as it is, a little piece of N.Y.C. in my heart.
The Start of the End
When I returned home, I moved into my first ever apartment of Melanie. We had had enough with RA life and decided it was time to move on. I found a job as a stylist at Famous Hair. Between that and school, with the every once in a while fun plans with friends, my life was booked. Life went by quickly that year. Soon Melanie graduated, was preparing for grad school and moving into her new apartment for her new job. I was busy searching for a new place to live back home.
We have since moved and here we are now, with literally a month, that’s 30 days left until I graduate. So what is next for me? Well, that’s a good question. Everyone always assumes you have to know exactly what you want after college, but that isn’t the case. I know what I’d like to be doing. I know what my dreams are, but they aren’t really feasible right this minute. Dreams take time and money. I’ll of course start revising my resume and searching for places that feel like a good match for me. I’ll probably end up somewhere that is the farthest thing from what I want to be doing, but you know what, that is okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. I don’t know where my start is just yet, but I know I’ll find it. Everything feels incredibly uncertain for me right now and I’m very anxious about the “real world,” but I also know that I will figure it out. I will figure everything out.
Everyone tells you that college goes by super fast and I can tell you that it’s true. They also say it’s the best four years of your life, college has definitely been the best four years of my life. I have met so many amazing people, people that I can confidently say will be in the rest of my life. I have had some friendship break ups and make ups, I have had some crazy experiences, saw some pretty weird things and saw some pretty awesome things. I have suffered losses and I have gained. I have traveled, explored, changed and grown up. I have overcome obstacles, endured large amounts of stress and I will soon be able to say, “I have graduated.”
It is difficult, it is tedious, but I am here to say that it’s all worth it. If you know what you want to do, if you have some kind of dilapidated plan or dream in your head, stick with it. Enjoy every minute of making it come true and put forth hard work. Try to make good decisions, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes; to fail and repeat. Don’t be afraid to stay out late on Tuesday night when you have something early Wednesday. Hang out with that person, go to the event, wear that dress you’ve been saving and rock the bright purple hair. Live your life and be proud of yourself.
The Real Beginning