Before this year, I was a first semester junior. I was getting a grasp on what it was like to be over halfway done with college: to be closer to being a grown up than I was to being a kid. I was making mistakes and I was building relationships with different people. I was gaining the confidence to understand that there were good relationships and that there were bad ones. I realized that I didn’t deserve those bad ones, even when I thought I did.
Before that I was an underclassman. New to everything college, finding my closest friends: finding myself. I was growing up, but I wasn’t a grown-up. Realizing that I would give just about anything to be back home in the loving arms of my mom, to go on an adventure with my dad, or to hang out with my sisters. I was learning about myself, battling my insecurities and starting to understand that confidence is good, not bad.
Before that I was in high school. Convinced everyone I knew would be my best friend forever, but making the most important memories with the people that would be my people for years to come. Not realizing how important my family was to me. Hiding all of my significant insecurities behind my ever-faithful smile.
Before that I was in middle school. I was understanding just enough to know that I had to be a certain way to fit in, but not enough to become insecure about myself. I was meeting people for the first time that would end up being my best friends later. Wondering if the cute boy sitting next to me knew that I had my first ever crush and that it was on him.
Before that I was a kid. My whole life was ahead of me, and the hardest problem I had was deciding which color chalk I’d use to create my own little world on the patio of my first home. Family was my home and my home was my family. I was a clean slate, unaware of how big the world really was.
Now I’m here. I have my best friends who will be my people forever. My family is my home and home is my family. I’ve learned incredible amounts from everyone I’ve come across. I understand myself more than I ever have, still with strides to go. I’m confident in who I am – happy with who I am. I have lapses, but I know that’s okay. This year, I’m 20. I’m growing up, but not a grown-up. This year, I’m finding myself. This year, I’m making my most important memories with my most important people. This year, I don’t care about learning how to fit in. This year, I’m 20… and this year, I have my whole life ahead of me.