It’s my final day on campus, and as I sit here on my couch eating Fritos and watching “Friends” for the third time, I think back to who I was at the beginning of my freshman year and how I barley recognize myself. Just a few months ago, I was relying on my parents and town to tell me what I thought of the world. I was coming home before my curfew. My best friends had been the same since I was 5. School was a breeze and involved little effort. I never knew what it was like to be in a relationship. I wasn’t addicted to cold brew and grilled cheese. My dogs welcomed me home after a long day of classes and my independence was limited.
I’m not the same person and I love it.
Yes, I learned a lot in my classes and they helped my time management skills, but that’s not what changed me. People did. I’ve realized how impressionable I am. This could be seen as a bad thing, but in my case, letting people influence my opinions and actions has helped me expand upon my perception of the world. I never realized how close minded I was until I was thrown into a residence hall with 50 other “leaders” who were so much more extroverted and hype than I was. They taught me how to speak my mind and be straight forward when that wasn’t my strong suite. I had to adjust to a life bursting of new people, constantly in my personal space. Neighbors would be in my room until 3am talking or having dance parties. They let themselves into my life and it stressed me out to no end, but I’m so happy they welcomed themselves in, because I never would have. I couldn’t say that I love music as much as I do now without Kristina Slifco. Sarah Cortez made sure that I had a mom when I couldn’t be one any more. My roommate, Makenna Hogerheide, showed me love in the midst of struggling to share a small room. I learned how to laugh at anything because of Ashleigh Varney. Josh Geary showed me the importance of communication and compassion. Rose Yob displayed to me the pure kindness that I didn’t know people possessed. My crazy fifth roommate, Lucas Gustafson, taught me to live life to the fullest no matter the situation. Justin Lepor gave me the meaning of trust to an extent I’ve never experienced.
I know a little bit more about who I am, but I also feel as if I have no idea what I want.
I hear people talk about how they hate the terms introvert and extravert and how the words constrict a persons being. They believe it’s wrong to label a person with one simple term. Introvert is not a simple term to me. I knew that I was quiet and a listener even before coming to college, but I didn’t know how much that affected me. One of the attributes of an introvert is the need to recharge in peace. They don’t always find joy in large social settings. I figured out that I need time alone or simply in silence to find myself again. Unfortunately, that time is nearly impossible to get in college. I had to learn to deal with my stress and release it in different ways like listening to music. There were times when my chest felt like it was closing in because I was so overwhelmed. Through all this, though it was difficult to come to understand, I became a new person with a new comprehension of myself. In no way, however, does this mean I know what I want. My major is still undecided, I don’t quite understand what a relationship means to me, my future is a blur, and I couldn’t tell you what I want to get out of my life, but I’m ok with that. I understand that these things take time to discover and I have all the time I need.
I’m not the Lauren that left for CMU in August of 2016. I don’t think the same way. My ideas on friendships and relationships have shifted. I’ve learned how to lead in a way effective to me and my followers. I’m still looking for my passions. And I am content.