3 Takeaways from an Unpredictable College Year
As I drag my duffle bags down the rickety staircase and load my car to the brim with furniture and garbage bags full of clothes, I start to reflect on one just how crazy of a year it has been at college. I take one final look at the house before shutting the front for the last time. I cannot believe this year is over, it feels like just yesterday me and my two roommates were exploring the house for the first time, eager as can be to move in.
My junior year of college was supposed to look a lot different. I was signed up to be abroad in London throughout the fall semester and I was supposed to come back in the spring and move into an apartment with five of my best friends. I was so excited and could not wait for the perfect year as an upperclassman. The universe, however, had something very different in mind. Our global pandemic hit and plans changed very quickly. This year had a lot of twists and turns but taught me how to roll with the punches. I learned a lot and I want to share some of the takeaways I’ve gathered.
Little moments are what really matter. I used to find myself constantly looking forward to the next big event I had coming up. However, a month in quarantine at school will make you realize how exciting the small moments are. My roommates and I began a routine Starbucks run every Monday which always gave me something to look forward to at the start of the week. It made me come to realize that some of the happiest moments can come from some of the simplest.
Time unplugged is good for the soul. Much of my time during the day was spent staring at my computer for class on zoom and then switching right over to staring at my phone in between classes. Daily walks became a critical part of my day to ensure that I was getting fresh air and not drowning in my screens. Finding Prezence in the middle of my second semester was also helpful considering their meditations and tips and tricks on how to accomplish digital mindfulness. I found myself in much better spirits when I spent time away from the screen, allowing myself to be more present.
Your perspective matters. One more thing that I learned was how perspective can change everything. If I didn’t do well on an assignment or things kept piling up until I was so overwhelmed, my roommate would always say, “JILL. It’s okay we are literally in the middle of a pandemic.” Although she was half joking and half serious, it was true! Remembering that no one has experienced something quite like this and taking things slow, or allowing yourself to rest is 100% okay. Even just waking up and getting through the day during this turbulent time was a success within itself.
So as I am bidding farewell to the strangest, most unusual year I have probably ever faced in my life, I have to say thank you junior year. It was quite the rollercoaster but it gave me a bunch of new amazing friends, a house I will now forever be nostalgic about, tons of lessons learned, and most importantly about a million memories I will take with me. This year was full of growth in light of the challenges and I am very thankful for that and for everything it has taught me.