I cannot believe it’s already the first day of my junior year of college! It feels like just yesterday I was anxious and excited to move into my dorm room and meet my roomie for the first time. Thanks to my Google Photo Memories, I was reminded that two years ago this time I attended a Colorado Rockies baseball game in downtown Denver as part of freshman orientation, and one year ago I got to play my university’s carillon in the bell tower (aka “The Golden Nipple”—if you know, you know) and was asking the tall boys from down the hall to help my suitemates and me hang our string lights. Boy, time sure flies.
Obviously, the start of junior year is looking very different than past years. I’ve been extremely absent from the blogging world the last week and a half because A) I was busy packing, driving, and moving into my first real apartment and B) I didn’t have the wifi set up ‘til Thursday of last week (the struggle). So I’m so sorry if I haven’t gotten to your comments or new posts yet—I plan on spending this week catching up!
Unlike high school, where junior year is kind of dreaded as being the “hardest”—what with AP classes and standardized tests and all—junior year of college was supposed to be the best. Why? Because I was finally going to get the chance to study abroad! I’ve always been pretty indecisive about big plans—I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college, what I wanted to study, or what I want to do once I graduate. But study abroad? That’s the one thing in my life I’ve always wanted to do, since I found out it exists. In fact, it was a major factor in choosing the university I attend.
So you can imagine my disappointment when my semester abroad was cancelled due to the pandemic back in June. I was *this* close to doing something I’ve been looking forward to for years and years. I was supposed to attend the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and I had already done a ton of research on the town/school activities and had even picked most of my classes. One was a course about Scotland’s archaeology which involved two field trip days around the country. Another was a stained-glass class where I would learn to make my own art at their prestigious art school. I even had the opportunity to take a bagpiping course! How cool is that?
While the cancellation of study abroad was no surprise, I spent hours crying over it once the announcement was finally made. I was angry. And I was so afraid that my entire fall semester would be ruined due to my own bitterness about the situation. How could I enjoy (online) school when all I can think about is how I would’ve been having grand adventures in the Scottish countryside right now?
In fact, I spent the entire summer afraid—afraid that college as I knew it is over. Like study abroad, I’ve been waiting and dreaming of going to college for so long. I have notebooks from middle school that are filled with drawings of my future dorm room, if that gives you an idea. High school was enjoyable enough, but I always knew the university life would be the place for me. And it was. My freshman year of college was the best year of my life so far, filled with so many new experiences and endless self-growth. Sophomore year was a bit of a let-down—for some obvious reasons and some not—so I was looking forward to a redeeming junior year.
While I’ve managed to put a lot of that fear behind me (or at least, temporarily out of mind), I sometimes still worry that my college experience will never be the same. After all, there’s no saying how long this pandemic will continue… Will I be sent home this quarter? Will I have to move out weeks after moving in? Should I transfer to an in-state school so that I’m not wasting so much money on an unsatisfying online education? Will I even get to study abroad at all now? Or will I have to graduate early and just get the heck out of college to save money? Some of that may sound awfully dramatic, but if the coronavirus pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to prepare for the worst.
I realize that everyone is dealing with tremendous disappointment right now for various reasons. Yet, knowing “I’m not alone” has never been a comforting sentiment to me—anyone else? I also realize that I’m incredibly privileged if the cancellation of a study abroad program is one of the worst things to happen to me as a result of the pandemic. But, as my old therapist used to say, the comparison game doesn’t do anyone any good, even when comparing hardships. We all deserve to grieve and experience struggles without feeling any added guilt.
Wow—this blog post took a very depressing and unexpected turn! I didn’t write this in search of sympathy, and I’ve actually been trying to move away from posting about vulnerable subjects on the blog (I’m not into the sappy stuff anymore, ya know?). But I guess this is just what I’ve been thinking about as I head back to school… The good news—and the whole point of this post—is that I actually feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. Maybe the rest of college won’t turn out to be what I always expected… or maybe it will. Either way, it’s out of my control, and as my dad is always advocating, I’m doing my best to let go of what I don’t have control over (though it’s easier said than done).
Regardless, I finally feel excited again. If you had asked me a month ago if I was looking forward to the start of school, I would have said no, which is very uncharacteristic of me. But now, I feel excited to be living in my new apartment. I’m excited for my twinkle lights and the tiny orchid my aunt bought me and my card collection hanging on the wall (by the way—a room tour is coming soon). And I’m excited for quiet nights in with my roommate, playing Mario Kart on the Wii and eating ice cream. I’m also looking forward to outdoor, Covid-safe Colorado adventures. Maybe it’s not Scotland, but Colorful Colorado has a lot to offer, to say the least. And I’m very grateful to be able to spend this extra time with my friends and family here in Denver. Even on the worst days, there is still so much for which to be thankful.
And with that, I’ll finish today’s post on a light-hearted note—my outfit! I wore this outfit on my first day of freshman year (see below on the left). This pic was shot by a girl who lived on my floor and was taken right before my 8 am class, Intermediate Spanish. I picked this outfit for no particular reason, other than that I wanted to “dress to impress” for my first day of college. Little did I know that I would decide to keep the tradition alive and wear the same look on the first day of sophomore year, too (see below on the right). My hair was longer and in braids by sophomore year, and you may notice that I wore the wrong shoes! Or I guess, the right shoes, since I decided to wear the beige sparkly flats for my first day of junior year as well. I’m wearing this outfit RIGHT NOW, with the addition of a mask (gotta keep history accurate), and you can see this year’s photo down below as well. I just took it during my lunch break!
Anyways, this blog post, my blog in general, and my entire brain is all over the place right now. But thanks for staying with me! I missed blogging and talking with all you these last few weeks, and I hope your Monday is off to a great start. As always, thanks for reading.
Miles of smiles,
Green Striped Tee: Down East Style, $18, last worn here | Olive Green Skirt: Down East Style, $30, last worn here | Beige Sparkly Flats: Nordstrom Rack, $40, last worn here | Rust-Colored Clutch: Francesca’s, $20, last worn here