This year has brought me far more downs than ups but in the midst of the downs, I want to continue to focus on how I grew. Below I have listed five things that 2022 has brought me and a few takeaways.
1. High School is what you make it, especially Senior year.
To start off, I focus on high school. What a year. When I graduated this past June, it is easy to say that I was ready leave. I was eager and I was anxious to get out of the world of gossip, frustrating friendships. talk about college, and the people who just simply tore others down to make themselves feel better. It happens, and it's part of high school. And I will honestly say there were times where I was the one doing that. I quickly learned that the way you treat people is only a reflection of yourself, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person. I would treat people poorly because of my own feelings about myself, and I saw the same thing be done to me. I remember countless nights of my senior year I would sit in bed and think about all the memories I had made already this year. Senior year was supposed to be a good year, full of excitement and eagerness to move on to the next chapter. But every time I would think back on the year, I never thought of the positives. So that is when I say, High School is what you make it. Seriously, when I learned to look at my last year in public school as something I was grateful for, it really changed my perspective. I learned to think of the good friends I DO have and not focus on the ones who were not my friends anymore. I learned to not focus on the teacher who hated me, but instead focused on building relationships with the ones who I know want to invest in me. For myself, and along with my small sweet friend group in high school, we learned that QUALITY vs QUANTITY is always more important. I always wanted to have a lot of friends and wanted to be friends with everyone, but once I saw the toll that had on me I quickly understood the meaning of Quality vs Quantity. I made High School something to be grateful for because it helped me grow as a person and realize the importance of close friends and opportunity.
2. Being an over-thinker is not a weakness.
Those who are not over-thinkers may disagree with this one. But, those of you who do over-think I hope you realize, it is okay. I am an extreme over-thinker, about quite everything. I got this way towards the end of my senior year when life seemed to keep throwing rocks at me, or at least it felt that way. I learned that an over-thinkers neediness is not arrogance, but its fear. Something we simply can't control and if we do try to control it, life makes it really hard to do so. No one is more tired of an overactive mind than someone who over-thinks. It's exhausting and self-consuming. Its hard for a person to not live with the hypotheticals invading their mind every second. Although it is more than difficult to see, there happens to be a beauty in overthinking. Those people love the most and are the most afraid of hurting those around them. As an over thinker myself I learned over time to let go of bottled-up fears and simply work daily to fight the battle against my own mind.
3. You don't have to have it all figured out.
This one is so very important, and good to remind yourself at any stage of life. You have to learn to trust the timing of your life. I know I know, everyone always says "everything happens for a reason" and while yes I think in someways that is true, I am saying the timing of events in your life happens for a reason. Chasing a version of success because you are trying to meet a certain timeline is not the way to go about living. Do not chase something you know will not inspire you, because it will only lead you away from your aspirations. This past year, I learned that I need to understand who I am on a foundational level and what I deeply value. I had to really pinpoint what made me want to get up in the morning and choose that everyday. Your path is different than everyone else's, therefore you are the only person who is dreaming in one direction. I say this because there is no point in moving too quickly and rushing into a life you don't want. You may feel like you are failing because you are moving at a different pace than those around you, but you have the capability to acknowledge that your dreams are not like everyones around you. By growing into your future, you are understanding that the future is not based on a checklist or status, but is based on making YOUR life YOUR own.
4. Learn to Let Go
Learning to let go is one of the hardest things for people to do. But I can confidently tell you that when you learn to let go of certain things, change happens. I am still continuing to let go of everyones opinion on my life. Yep, MY life. It's hard to admit that I continue to still let people have an opinion on my life. But I have learned that it's my life, no one else's. There is no correct way to live a life that is solely your own. Everyone has a different concept of what goals look like, and because everyone thinks differently, people will judge. I hope you learn that making your time here something you are proud of, is going to start by letting go of the opinions people place on you. It's a hard thing to do, and I am no where near reaching that. Along with letting go of everyones opinion, I also have learned to let go of my tendency to favor distance over depth. This past year, I kept protecting myself from seeming too eager for opportunity, simply because I did not want to seem overly emotional. To my friends who really know me, you know that I am as emotional as it gets. Ha! Silencing my instincts led me farther and farther from opportunities and friendships. I learned to let go of being so worried about where I was at in a journey to a destination, and instead focused on how I am in the PRESENT. I learned there is nothing wrong with protecting yourself when you know something is not for you, but it's a different story when you protect yourself from the fear of what others may say. There is beauty in being a person who cares and thinks deeply!
5. Adjustment is Hard, Really Hard.
For all the people who have just gone through a big transition, I am right there with you. Whether it be a transition from a job, a transitioning friendship or relationship, or in my case, a school transition, it is hard. I get it. I remember sitting in my high school senior English class and my teacher constantly talking about the ways in which each of us as a student will thrive when we reach college. Teachers at school would always talk about the blossom each one of us would experience when we got there. I have two older sisters, one of which just graduated college, so I have been surrounded by "college life" for awhile. Because I had watched one sister graduate and the other finish her freshman year, I was eager to get to college. So when I would hear my teachers emphasized on the fun I would have when I got there, I was more than ever ready for the transition. But, I will be honest, No body told me about how hard the adjustment is, not just the transition. My mom is a college professor and prepped me for the change in academics and how It would be much harder, which I knew. I knew that I was going to have to study harder and longer than I did in high school, and I knew that my papers were not just 3 page papers like they always were. Saying goodbye to some of my best friends from childhood was what I thought would be the hardest part. You get to school and realize that the friendships aren't as natural as they were back home. I say this because I expected instant connections. I was fortunate enough to have an instant connection with my best friend that started freshman year of high school. I was really brave to assume that college would be the same way. But my mom always told me that even having ONE best friend is really rare. So I constantly catch myself thinking of my best friends from high school and wish that I had the same connections in college that I did at home. But it was unfair to myself to compare those. Friendships in College take time, because everyone is having a hard time adjusting. I was grateful to meet girls right off the bat that I was able to share similarities with and talk to. It would be selfish of me to assume that I am the only one struggling, because everyone is wishing they had their best friend from home with them at college. I feel like where I am right now seems like I have met all my friends already, but I am grateful to know there is so much more in store for me. Like I mentioned earlier, I do not have everything figured out, and neither do the people around me. The process of transition into a completely new place is not at all easy, and if people told you how it really was, no one would do it.