Hello world, it’s been awhile since I published the sincerely unsatisfactory update about my first year of college in the form of 6 measly photos. This blog post will be the ultimate update: an overview of completing a full year of university, the joys of figuring life out as a 19-year-old, and what life looks like for me now.
A Full Year of College
The post I put up in September showed you a glimpse into my life at the time: concerts, picnics, some great friends, and even a night out salsa dancing. Although these photos are nice, I am a writer, and I would much rather write about the experiences.
Going into this past year felt a lot like a constant game of Never-Have-I-Ever.
- Never-Had-I-Ever finished a full year of traditional education.
- Never-Had-I-Ever been so passionate about my job and learning from it that I literally dreamt about it on a weekly basis.
- Never-Had-I-Ever had friends so out-of-this-world I would come to refer to as cartoon characters.
- Never-Had-I-Ever considered the idea of renting a house by the age of 19.
Yet here I am.
Upon wrapping up my first year in Fort Collins, I was caught up in a surprising sense of pride,
of belonging, and of joy. I experienced Red Rocks Amphitheater on Halloween, I (more than once) woke up at 3 a.m. to race the sun to the top of Horsetooth Rock, I did well in classes and I did poorly in other classes (Writing, I love you. Math and Science, not so much love in your direction). I found deep connections to people from all over the world, rented a home for myself, the Baddies, and Skipper the dog, and lined up two jobs I am oh-so-passionate about for when I return in August.
All of these things are great, but what about the mental process behind starting on a traditional path after 12 years of shunning “the system”? How was that?
Not as easy I anticipated, that’s for sure. The first few months of school, I found myself not trying, I was simply existing at Colorado State. I let myself be stuck in a rut because of guilt. I felt guilty for leaving alternative education movement. It felt as if I had failed myself, my journey, and every person I had met along the way. Attending college felt like giving up. It was rough! There were quite a few crying sessions and a blog post before I was able to motivate myself to try harder to make it work.
But once I began trying, there was no going back. I began writing for the school magazine, I made an effort to socialize more, to give each assignment my all, and I started to feel better. Attending university was my choice, and every time I doubted my interest in the system I willingly entered myself into, I was proven wrong. The school and the people constantly kept me on my toes and engaged.
Figuring Life Out as a Nineteen Year Old
Tune to my brain’s frequency and you will most likely hear something similar to:
“AHHHHHH! WHEN WILL I FIND TIME TO DO ALL OF THIS?”
“Katie, calm down, do some deep breathing. There is a lot of beauty in the world so please go look at it and come back to this problem later.”
I think these two thoughts, one following the other, really sum up how my 19th year is treating me.
Spring semester, I became close with a fantastic person who re-introduced me to reading for pleasure! And appreciating the beauty I used to see in everything! I am beyond grateful for him.
Somewhere along the way this past year, I allowed myself to lose sight of the gorgeous, omnipresent beauty this universe is constantly offering up. I could feel the loss; my actions were tainted with grief without the undercurrent of joy I had previously conditioned myself to possess.
Through the re-integration of reading and mindful observation, I was able to reclaim joy. I found peace and the reassurance everything works out, even if it definitely does not feel as if it will.
Nineteen has also meant more responsibility. Possessing the skills of an adult now means I have to implement them; which has been an adjustment. It is rewarding, a sort of, “Yes! I’m passing as a successful adult!”, even though my mother still refers to my age group as a “baby adults” which feels entirely more accurate.
Updates on Yours Truly
It is summer now and I have finally found time to sit down to think about more matters than just homework. This is overwhelming sometimes because without school dominating my brain, there is too much space for trying to problem solve minuscule issues which are three months in the future.
In order to try to squish these slightly obsessive thoughts, I have started a part-time summer job at the local Jamba Juice, am helping more than ever around the house, and will be working a full-time summer day camp in July.
Come August, I will begin working as the Features Editor for College Avenue, where I was a writer last year. I also will be taking on the position of a mentor within the INTO program at CSU. I am overly excited for these two jobs as well as for the minor I declared and will begin work on in the fall, Women’s Studies.
I drove from California to Colorado in August of 2016, weighed down by the feeling of giving up on a lifestyle of adventure in exchange for a mainstream life. I was riding on the heels of my trip to Latin America and had only returned to the United States 3 weeks prior. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with the idea of moving into a dorm and starting classes almost immediately. In my mopey state, one piece of advice from my mother changed my entire mindset.
“Not every adventure looks the same; this year is going to be an adventure unlike any you’ve had before.”
This simple piece of advice changed everything. It gave me the confidence to take on each day as a new adventure with its own challenges no matter where in the world I am, what I am doing, or when I am doing it.