I never realized that a year could go by so fast. You always hear your parents talk about how fast time goes by and how each year it gets faster and faster, but it never completely hit me until this year. 2014 has been the most eventful year yet and it feels like it only lasted a few months. I feel as if I just got used to writing 2014 on all of my papers, and now it is going to switch up all over again. And yet, while this year went fast, it taught me more about myself and my goals in life than any other year to date.
In 2014, I officially became an adult. Well…kind of. Legally, I’m an adult. I can vote, so that’s cool. But emotionally, not quite yet. I always like to say that college students aren’t really adults, but rather adults with training wheels. We can tip from side to side with our mistakes, but it’s hard to completely fall over. And while I don’t feel like an adult yet, and I have a suspicion that my age definition of an adult will keep getting older as I grow up, I am in college which means I am somewhat an adult. I know, it’s a big moment.
Starting college was amazing. I’ve always been one to love school, so going to a school that I chose to study things I am interested in is basically Haley heaven. Loyola is my happy place, and I’ve loved living in the city and meeting new people. I also graduated high school in 2014. Between both of these significant milestones in my life and all the time spent working on “discovering me”, I’ve picked up a few things along the way. They are as follows:
Support systems are crucial.
In life, there are always going to be bumps and road blocks, whether foreseen or not. And while independence can be fun and freeing, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have people who make you happy and support you. You need people in your life who know how to help you pick up your broken pieces when you shatter. And yes, this means you need to make yourself vulnerable sometimes. Whether you confide in your parents or a few best friends, let them see you for you. The same applies when they need you to be a support. Life isn’t always easy, but having people who can make you smile or feel better makes even the roughest things feel easier.
Sometimes people grow out of each other.
Yes. It happens. It’s hard to accept, but it will be okay. This might happen to you in high school, after the switch to college, or even later, but you’ll be okay. Losing a friend is a heartbreak that feels impossible to battle, but focus on what you still have. People change, interests vary and branch out, and suddenly someone who had the same passions as you just don’t anymore. These changes in friendship don’t always have a set end date, sometimes they just slowly fade away. Sometimes growing up means growing apart. And who knows, maybe after some time apart, you’ll reconnect. If not, start branching out to find new friends with similar passions that match your ever changing interests. Most importantly, you will be okay.
Don’t over-schedule yourself.
This is something that I fell victim to in high school. I had so many things I wanted to be a part of and not enough time to do them all, even though I tried. This would lead me close to stressful breakdowns often when I would be up until 3 a.m. trying to finish homework before I woke up for school at 6:30. Just cut some things out. Yes, maybe you want to do Forensics, volunteer, and get a job, but on top of your school schedule, it might not work out. It will be hard, but choose your top interests, and let other things go. More importantly, schedule time for yourself, time for you to rest or do your favorite hobbies.
You are stronger than you think you are.
Whatever challenges you face, you can overcome them. Throughout 2014, I had moments where I would question my strength. But look, here I am, still chugging along ready for life to come at me. I can’t lie, I’m so excited for this upcoming semester and seeing what it has in store. Bumps hurt and they might throw you off course, but you can make it back. Just keep your chin up and hang in there.
Living your dreams is essential.
Notice I said living, not following. Following gives us the sense that they aren’t attainable or are only able to be reached at some point in the future. I learned how important this lesson was after switching my major. Yes, maybe some other majors are more practical, but if it isn’t something you enjoy, is it really worth it? If you live your dreams, and your job makes you happy, it won’t feel like work.
You don’t always need a plan.
This one was hard for me to realize. I like to plan, organize, and schedule out my day, but everything doesn’t always need a plan. Some of the best days in college so far have been when someone stopped by quick and asked if I wanted to go on an adventure. Having plans is nice, but be flexible and allow random moments of fun to take their course.
Life is a great, fun, crazy ride.
We have so many great moments that often get overshadowed by negative ones. Going back and reflecting on the great things that happen helps to keep you focused on this amazing life you are living.
In short, 2014 has been an impactful year, one that has helped open my eyes for the future. If 2015 is anything like this one, buckle your seatbelt, kids. We are in for an interesting, laugh-filled ride.