I thought I was becoming more set in my ways, but maybe that wasn’t quite it

I’ve spent approximately eight of the last ten months at school. That’s kind of a while. It’s plenty of time to think. However, it took being home for summer for a couple of weeks to think about a particular thing: change.

When I was at Purdue, I spent most of my days thinking about people and classes and jobs. I was stressed about the future and, at times, very nostalgic about the past, but I was basically stuck thinking in the present. I lend a lot of this to my stellar procrastination skills. Anyway, I’m not saying that keeping up only with today a bad thing, but it’s not all good either.

Personally, I think living “in the now” is a great notion. It would be ideal, but it’s not really attainable, is it?

No. At least, not for most of us. We like to think about the future because it’s typically either thrilling or terrifying. Both incline us to put a lot of energy into waiting for it to finally arrive. We like to think  about our past because it tells our story. They’re all three connected, so how can we realistically separate them and choose only one to focus on? That’s kind of where I’m going with this. My past is who I’ve been, though not necessarily who I am, but I also need it to steer me to who I want to be.

Back to my story. After a couple weeks of being back at home for the summer, I started to realize something. Throughout the school year, I’d been thinking, “I guess I’ve learned more about myself..mostly that I’ve known myself quite well all along.” I didn’t think I’d really changed much.

I was wrong.

College made me appreciate silence even more than I did in high school. It definitely influenced my sense of humor. Things I used to be embarrassed or disgusted by now cause me to laugh. It made me blunt. I get to the point a lot faster now, especially when speaking. It proved that I’m more open-minded than I gave myself credit for. It showed me that I do know how and where to draw lines, even if I still haven’t figured out what drives me to do that. College gave me what I needed to just get over some things that I constantly tripped over at home. I realized that I can have different kinds of friends, but more importantly, I learned which kinds I don’t need in my life. I picked up some courage somewhere too. I finally learned how to handle that massive fear of rejection I was cursed with, and it paid off. Not only do I not have to wonder and live with another “what if,” but things actually worked in my favor.

I learned that I have to work a lot harder if I’m going to get to vet school. I’m hoping that in the next semester, college will teach me how to study and defeat procrastination. Being away showed me which friends from high school are going to stick around and make an effort. There were a couple of surprises there, too, but you learn to go with it. I learned that I can’t be the only one trying either. It took me a while, but I learned to ask for help. No matter how many people told me otherwise, I always saw it as a weakness until now.

As for the future, I try not to worry about it as much. Nothing’s guaranteed. We know that all too well. Even thinking ahead to August can be poisonous. I’m excited, but terrified. I was in an excellent place when it came time to leave earlier this month, and all I can do is hope that not too much changes over these three months. We promised no promises. But that doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful.

Anyway, college changed me. I grew up a lot, I guess. However, I didn’t realize I was growing up until I had a chance to really look back and examine who I used to be. Your past serves as your mirror in a way. Mine showed me that in all of that day-to-day thinking I was doing, my paths were shifting ever so slightly and eventually pointed a different direction. They were also moving to accept gross and vulgar things as hilarious, and to convince me that maybe I shouldn’t eat pasta at every meal. Ha. Next summer, I will have changed even more.  I’m excited, though. I mean, I like myself now and everything, but I don’t believe in fighting this kind of change.

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