I just realized that I have now been at The University of Virginia for approximately twenty weeks yet I have failed to share any of my wonderful and even not so wonderful experiences with this blog. I am trying to convince myself that this is a positive thing considering that just means I’ve been busy or preoccupied with other activities at school. But whatever the reason may be I’d like to change that. This school, in such a short period of time, has become one of the most incredible parts of my life so far and I want to share that with you. But unfortunaetly this post would be a thousand years long if I tried to share everything so I think I will start with one of the most important things I have learned while being here.
In an incredibly competitive environment filled with so many talented and intelligent individuals I have somehow found my perfect crevice to stay in for a while. My lovely home in new dorms (some may call me a lucky one) with my energetic and possibly crazy group of friends who I care for dearly and my schedule of classes filled with lots of science courses (its what I do). I have somehow found this combination of things that keep me happy and that is something I could somehow never achieve in high school. High school was rough in a way that it seems is rough for most people. You think you are happy in this unsatisfied way and then when you leave and discover something better you realize how unhappy you truly were. High school is filled with so many things that you grow up and learn were unimportant to you but seemed so important then. So many things that weigh you down. But when you get to college those weights are lifted. I learned a lot in high school but that was mostly academic; what I didn’t learn in high school was a lot about myself. So far in college I have been given so many opportunities to understand myself more and hopefully better myself through that. This school and the people in it have forced me to see my own flaws and learn how to fix or get passed them. I have finally understood things I was too afraid to face about myself. Mostly my own anxiety in forms of presenting myself to people and social situations, as well as my unhappiness within myself. It has taken me so long to figure out why nothing ever felt quite right; I would have these bursts of extreme joy and then it would be so short-lived and never last long enough. I realized that I was just sad. That nothing could make me happy because I am not happy with myself. But in finishing the nine seasons of the show “One Tree Hill” on Netflix over winter break, I learned that ‘Happiness is a mood. It’s a condition, it’s not a destination. It’s like being tired or hungry – it’s not permanent. It comes and goes and that’s okay. And I think if people thought about it that way, they’d find happiness a lot more often.’ I kept searching for this ‘thing’ that would MAKE me happy but no one thing can MAKE someone happy. You have to BE happy. It’s also okay to BE sad. That was something that took me completely changing my environment in college to figure out. But of course it was never good for me to be sad more often than I was happy and so I’ve slowly been working on that. Good things take time.
Thankfully I am surrounded by some of the most caring and special friends that I could have found and they support me and believe in me and that is more than I could have ever asked for. They also push me to do things I’m not comfortable with, something especially good for me since I never like being uncomfortable. But trying new things is all about being uncomfortable until one day they get comfortable and you wonder why you were ever afraid.
Another thing I have learned in college thus far is that you have to take care of yourself first. I have recently changed my diet (very drastically I might add) to a plant-based diet (veganism is basically what that means). And In most cases people slowly work to this, going from the standard American diet to vegetarian and then to vegan. But I decided to watch a few very important documentaries (one I have already spoken about on this blog) and I couldn’t even let myself just be vegetarian after I knew what I would have been eating. So I have been trying to find solid ground in my dining halls and thankfully UVA is just that extra bit special in that they have a station just for me. Knowing that I always have options has really taken a lot of stress off of me and it feels so comforting. I am also surrounded by so many accommodating restaurants in Charlottesville that my friends and I love to visit. Being in that kind of environment has made such a huge difference in this transition since I made the decision to change my diet right before I went off to school (much to the dismay of my mother – love you mom). But changing the way you eat is like changing to a new lifestyle, you have to adapt your life around the way you eat and make sure you are doing everything your body needs for you to. Which means I am very lucky that there is a gym directly across the street from my dorm. I have picked up an exercise routine that is perfect for me and that even includes yoga on Sundays with friends to relax and a dance fitness club on Tuesdays just for fun. It is true you have to find what is right for you and I am so happy now to have a concrete plan to keep myself on track, it makes life just a little easier.
But of course nothing goes perfectly and while I know I have chosen the best school for me it has its flaws. The environment here is quite competitive and nothing has shown me that more than trying to find my place in the music scene here. I love to sing and it is one of my greatest passions but so do a lot of other students here. So far I have auditioned for two A Capella groups and a mixed choir. All three failures but at least all three new and uncomfortable situations that I have survived. Singing has always been something really special to me, something that I have tried so hard to be confident about. Three failures doesn’t exactly help me in that department but not everything will go my way in the future so I must think about this like practice for later. For now I think I’ll be okay with my wonderful friends giving me praise for my singing. Until next audition time.
But this school has also helped me see so much good in people. Some of the most incredible human beings i’ve met have been introduced to me here. People so kind and selfless it actually amazes me to know them. And they have helped me to have such extraordinary experiences. I’ve protested for the rights of minorities, taken a class all about black women and how intersectionality works in our country, gone to a dance concert featuring just 90’s music (that one was fun), and sat in a room full of people who just wanted to be together as we watched our next president be chosen much to the opposition of our first voting experience. To believe I was actually afraid of going here for the sheer lack in diversity seems utterly ridiculous now. I would have never experienced these things and the different people here anywhere else.
As my second semester is already flying by I hope that my second year here is just as good if not better than the first. But I should’t get ahead of myself, first year isn’t over yet. I have many things I have yet to experience and I can’t wait to explore this school even more. UVA has many hidden gems and I’m sure there is much yet to be explored.
Here my lovely camera (and editing) skills are showcased in this picture of the protest I participated in 🙂
Hope you all had a lovely week, happy Friday!