If you asked me how I feel tonight, I’d say nostalgic, at best. At worst? Perhaps uncontrollably overwhelmed.
In less than a year, I’ve experienced both the ups and downs of college life, of being an independent adult, and of finding out who I was meant to be. In less than a year, I’ve had more to be thankful for than I could have ever thought possible.
I’ve been: harassed; denied; told I was a failure; ridiculed; almost late to an exam; forgetful; rejected; arrogant; overwhelmed; sorrowful; miserable; and lonely.
But I’ve also: been given incredible opportunities; learned so much about myself; met a diverse group of like-minded students; made friends; shared laughs; fell in love with Athens; learned to live on my own; and discover my passions.
Lying here in my childhood room, I look around at all of the dusty picture frames, the same white furniture that’s chipped in some odd places, at the walls that’ve seen one too many paint jobs and are a little hole-y from my many demands for nail heads. And I think to myself –– as a yearning stirs somewhere in my heart of hearts –– I’m the one who’s changed in this scene. I’m the one who’s all grown up.
Gahanna will always be my hometown, but Athens has become my home. It’s the place where I’m discovering my passions, my interests –– what I’m good enough in to make a lifelong career.
I’m meeting people, I’m making friends, and I’m learning how to avoid making enemies. There’s a magic, a beauty, about finding yourself in a mess of chaos. That’s how my year at OU started: chaos.
I was running headlong, away from a period of immense emotional turmoil, of ill health, of a deep deep sadness I thought would never leave me.
I needed to lose myself in a crowd of people in order to find myself.
And here I am, emerging from the ashes of my past and discovering something new, something true, about me my life and I.
Because life evolves. Life moves like a river coursing through the countryside on a bright, Wednesday afternoon. Life will give, and live will take. Life will surprise you when you least expect it. So let it surprise you.
Every day: work, play, do, love with passion. and smile.
Never forget that one day you will return to the Earth, you will be without those you love, and you will have no more chances to do what it is you desire.
Stare at old photographs, and remember how far it is you’ve come. Challenge yourself to keep growing, to keep evolving. But never lose who you are at the core.
Because I could change my major 15 times, but a degree will never change the essence that makes me Bethany Nicole Bella. What books I like, what my favorite color is, what my hobbies are. The memories of my first sleepover, my first time to Chicago, my first time at the beach, my first time in love. It’ll never take away who I look up to, who I’ll never know, and who I appreciate today (thanks for reading Cassidy).
Never let them take that –– that core part of what makes you YOU –– away.
Be strong. Never fear. Dream. Inspire. Create. Discover.
Until next month,
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