As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at home in Austin, and just reflecting on what the heck happened in the last 3 months. I’m a semester done with college already and it doesn’t feel real. So much has happened but I’m still pinching myself to make sure I really lived through it.
I started the semester absolutely hating where I was and wanted nothing more than to transfer. I didn’t care where, I just knew that I didn’t want to stay where I was. However, after a couple of difficult phone calls, it just wasn’t possible. I was given a range of advice, from “suck it up and just deal with being here” to “you know, community college isn’t a terrible option” to “taking a gap year could be a good indicator of what you want to do.” Ultimately I chose to suck it up and deal with being at UTD. But I made myself a deal. Since I was going to be stuck in Dallas for at least the semester, I was going to make the best of it. I would take advantage of all the opportunities that I had there, and have no regrets by the time finals rolled around in December.
This semester has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve felt completely alone, sitting in my dorm room. I’ve cried myself sick, from feeling like a failure, being homesick, missing friends that were across the country, not being able to be there for my little brother’s first band concert and missing my sister’s last marching competition of the season and her making history as our high school’s youngest drum major. Though, I can say with confidence that I never cried because of academics, which is a big change from high school. Academics was the one thing that I knew I could succeed in. Even in a competitive grading scale, where your grade was relative to everyone else’s in the class, I’ve managed to come out on top. My study habits are still in complete shambles (meaning I still don’t know how to study efficiently) but I’ve managed to pull it together for specific classes. The classes that I never thought I’d enjoy ended up being the ones that I look forward to every week. I’ve connected with professors and learned to enjoy taking the time to visit office hours and talk about things that aren’t strictly academic specific.
From countless rejections to a few hard-fought wins, I’ve grown so much. I put myself into countless situations that I usually would not have ever gone for and taking those risks has allowed me to experience so much. I’ve put all my heart, time and energy into a specific organization, only to get nothing in return. I’ve volunteered for things at the last minute and have been really happy to have done so. I’ve become more involved with things on campus, in the things that matter to me.
I still did the things that made me happy. I took my first solo trip to an archery tournament this semester. I’ve spent countless hours at the local range, making new friends and training to continue making myself better. I’ve driven for more than an hour to shoot a local tournament, and have been the only recurve at a tournament full of compounds. It’s taken me almost 3 years to reach this point, but I’m finally confident at the range.
Something that I’ve been contemplating a lot is whether the friendships that I’ve made are genuine. Already I feel like I’ve lost touch with many of my high school friends. In college, I’ve met so many new people but it doesn’t feel like they’re real friends. I’ve been lucky enough to have my tight-knit group of friends that I know are for real, but things happen in college all the time for friends to drift apart. I’m scared of that because I really do love these friends. But especially being in the business school, we are being trained to always network. Ask anyone, and the number one thing they will tell you is the importance of networking. It’s not about what you know, that can all be supplemented later on, but who you know. I can’t tell if some of the friendships I’ve made are purely for networking purposes.
Regardless, I’m grateful for everyone that I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know. I ended this semester having learned so much about myself and I feel like I have no major regrets (there are always small things I would’ve done differently but in the holistic view of things, I’m happy with what I did). I’ve learned to enjoy being at UTD and making the best out of what I have.
The best part of being home? Being able to sleep in my own bed. And being able to just spend time relaxing, even though finals are coming up real quick.
I ended up going home a couple of days later than I had originally planned on, simply because there were so many things that I needed to wrap up on campus as the semester was beginning to end. As soon as we get back from Thanksgiving break, we have a week of classes and then finals! It’s a little scary to think that I’m almost done with my first semester of college!
During the week, I met up with a group of my archery friends and it was nice to just catch up and play some mini-golf, though we did give up on minigolf halfway through. 2 of us were back in town from college and we ended up meeting up with another friend that we hadn't seen in over a year. They are the reason I miss Austin so much and the reason I still love the sport. Most of us came from the same training background so it’s always fun to reminisce on how bad that experience was and what we wished we could do differently. But we don’t just talk about archery. Because there’s such a big range of ages (there’s a 5-year gap between the youngest and the oldest of the group), it’s always fun to talk about school, relationships and whatever else comes up in our conversations.
My family didn’t really have any plans for Thanksgiving so I just looked up some easy baked dishes to make for dinner. I ended up making a baked ziti and baked mac and cheese. Let’s just go with it was good but no one should eat too much of it because it was sooooo much cheese. I’ve never been one to cook, mainly because I haven’t had the chance to yet. But if it involved putting things into the oven, I’m all for it!
At the last minute, I got invited to go to the Renaissance Faire that was in Houston with a group from the archery range on Friday. This was surprising to me because I agreed to go without actually knowing any details about where we were going (I didn’t realize it was in Houston until halfway through the drive there!) and what was going on that day. The main reason a bunch of us all went was that we’re friends with one of the vendors at the Faire and we wanted to go support them. I had never gone to the Renaissance Faire before and this was cool to go and experience. There are so many people dressed up and it was fun to see all the medieval stuff that the shops were selling.
The week went by way too fast and way too soon, it was time to get in my car and drive back to Dallas. The drive between Austin and Dallas is starting to get repetitive and I dread getting on I-35 every time. Somehow as it gets colder, people are less capable of driving. But the semester is almost over and I’ll get to be home for a longer amount of time!
The one thing that is lacking in this post is all the things I’m thankful for. There is so much this year that I am thankful for, and I like to think that I express that gratefulness often enough that I don’t have to save it for a specific day to say it.