The first week of Junior year has officially ended and all I can think about it how much I’ve changed and grown since the beginning of my college career.

Freshman year I was so nervous about fitting in, finding someone to date, making the perfect group of friends, and not doing everything but also being the best at everything…The thing is that I didn’t and still don’t like group settings. As an outgoing introvert, I am extremely talkative, but I recharge on my own. I feel pulled in too many directions when I’m with a large group, plus I just always feel conflicted with my relationship with the group. Am I needed in this group? Am I liked by the group? Am I replaceable? I was so focused on doing everything right that I joined way too many clubs, allowed myself to be friends with superficial people, and dated someone that I didn’t even like.

Sophomore year I felt like I had figured it all out. I had my group of friends – who turned out to be the biggest bullies and downright awful people – a new boyfriend, and was busier than I had ever been. I somehow took my busyness and boyfriend as success, rather than realizing that I was too busy for self care and in a super unhealthy relationship. The easiest way to explain my sophomore year relationship is one day I came home from class and turned to my best friend and said, ” This has been the BEST week ever, I’ve only fought with him once so far and it’s Wednesday!” Why was is an accomplishment that we’ve made it 2.5 days without fighting? Why did I feel like it was acceptable that he made me feel like I was worthless and not good enough for his time? Why would it be normal that he drank so much that I felt like he couldn’t have fun unless drunk?

In reality, it was a really unhealthy relationship and extremely abusive. In reality, I was so blinded by how my SHOULD BE that ignored that all my (actual) friends and family were concerned for my well being. They didn’t get why I was allowing myself to be torn down repeatedly by someone.

Thankfully, Junior year has come with a new perspective. By no means am I naive enough to think that a few years from now I will have zero regrets about Junior year. I’m fully aware that I’ll make new mistakes and some lessons I won’t learn until after the fact.

That being said, I am really happy. I’m proud of the growth I’ve demonstrated over the last two years and the choices I am making now. I realized that going out every weekend made me feel like I was only dressing up to get attention, drinking to get rid of my pain, and hooking up to prove I can. Now I can go out and drink for me, but I also have the control to stay in and not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by it. I had an amazing night with my roommate watching trashy TV, chatting about our past and futures, and just enjoying each other’s company.

Overall, I no longer care about anyone’s opinion other than my own. I’m making healthy decisions for myself and that’s all that matters.




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