Growing Pains

Student

December 4, 2022

First of all, sorry for going missing for the past two weeks. I was swallowed up in a wave of projects and exams and emerged fully wiped out into Thanksgiving break where I really just needed to take a weekend to not do any work and stay away from my phone and laptop! But I’m back now and since I missed two weeks of blog posts, you already know that I have all sorts of thoughts brewing in my head ready to be word-vomited onto this blog!

I spent the Thanksgiving break at a friend from high school’s place. It’s one of my favorite times of the year when I get to visit her house and spend the holiday with her family and some of my closest high school friends. It felt like the perfect breath of fresh air from the stress of college and the perfect supportive hug to get me through the next couple of weeks of finals 🙂 But this time also got me feeling pretty reflective. I’m kind of still in awe that I’m a college junior – like high school was fully three years ago?! I felt pretty nostalgic and reflective just thinking about how much it feels like life has changed and how there are so many parts and people in my life that I can’t believe weren’t there three years ago (and I’m sure 3 more years down the line I’ll feel like this again).

This reflective mood and the realization that yes, it has actually been three years since high school, got me thinking a lot about what I thought this point in my life would look like. I feel like in high school I had this image of what the college junior or senior life was meant to look like and I mean I’m kind of living it but I also pretty much feel like the same person (with the addition of knowing how to do my own laundry, fully cook chicken, and have the capacity to memorize many statistical formulas). I’ve matured a lot and probably have aged around 20 years with the amount of stress I put on myself, but I still feel like the same person. I know it’s human nature to not notice the gradual growth over time and instead look out for some big dramatic change, so there is probably a lot that has changed. But I also can’t help feeling like the swanky image of the grown up twenty-year-old I had of myself when I was in high school isn’t fully who I am right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life currently, but I feel like I’m sort of waiting for a magic fairy godmother to tap me on the head and say, “you’re an adult!”

When my friends and I were together for Thanksgiving we re-watched our high school graduation, and we had a virtual Covid YouTube graduation so it was basically like reliving the whole thing again. Hearing everyone announce where they were going for college and listening to all the student speeches made me think about how excited and full of life we all were; we were so hyped up to move away from home and to live the typical college life from the movies. I think that the previous academic year was kind of everyone’s first year of freedom and people threw themselves into everything they could and that this year it’s all catching up on us – it’s the first real year at college. I can’t help but wonder where all that excitement and life we were so full at at graduation went. Has college lived up to its expectation?

Even as someone who is writing this post going into the dreaded finals period, I can wholeheartedly say that college has and is a good experience, but I don’t think it lived up to the rose tinted lens that everyone looked at it through in high school. I think that in college we go through the same cycles of good moments and bad moments that we did in high school but that in college it’s just so much more elevated – the high points are so much better because you’re in control of your life and this is “your life” – it’s something you created, but the lows can also be much lower because everything falls on you and you are the one living it out and fixing it.

As my economics-major self, I think about it in terms of a payoff and reward. By this, I don’t mean a monetary reward. Instead, I mean a future reward in terms of the life I’m building for myself. Sure it’s hard to be so far away from home, but I love that those tough homesick moments have taught me to be more independent and how to value my different relationships. Sure it’s hard to do well in classes, but I love that those periods of intense work have taught me so much academically. And sure it’s hard to juggle school with social life and other general life things like visas, doctors appointments, and cleaning out the mold in my apartment, but I love that all of this is teaching me how to take charge of my own life. The payoff of the moment of discomfort or struggle is worth it in my opinion. I can wholeheartedly look back and say that I would not want a life where I chose the easy route and still lived at home and never learned anything new just because I didn’t want to go through something difficult. So when I look back at my high school graduation video, yes I see a lot of young eighteen-year-olds who have lots of life and energy in them and are ready to take on college, but I also see people who are ready to take what life throws at them in order to grow. Looking at it on the inside now, I can see that these are just growing pains that will pay off in the end. And sometimes you do just need a quick trip back home and a hug from your mum to dull the growing pain 🙂

I love my college life. It can be draining sometimes like I just mentioned and at some points I do wonder if I should have just picked an easier route for myself, but I love that I now know how to cook myself dinner every night. I love that I now have a signature dish that I’m known for. I love that I found a career path that excites me. I love that I can now be a mentor to younger students. I love that I have my favorite running trail here. I love that when I go to my favorite coffee shop here the baristas know my name. I love that I can come home and recount my day to my roommates. I love that I can walk to class and run into five different people I know on the way. These things are all so special because they are parts of my life that I built up myself through those moments of discomfort and difficulty. Sure, maybe they’re not the swanky adult things I’d imagine myself doing at twenty, but they’re the little things I’m collecting and building into my own life and all the stuff that happens along the way is just part of that process.

So that’s my little brain dump for the day. l like to write about things that I resonate with and I see reflected around me, and this is one of those things that I’ve seen become more apparent recently. I hope that this blog post can provide you with that little piece of comfort to know that you’re doing just fine at college!

See you next week,

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