To my friends in the class of 2018: congrats!! You made it!! No matter where you’re headed next, always always always pursue your passions. If you’re going to college, enjoy yourself, and take advantage of all the opportunities to meet new people and learn new things. Just remember, as I learned in my freshman year, it’s most definitely not always going to be easy or fun.
Change is probably the hardest part of leaving high school.
I cannot count the number of people who say to me when I visit home, “aw I’ve seen your posts [on Facebook/Instagram], it looks like you had a good time.” Well, of course my Instagram feed is going to look like it’s all fun all the time! I’m not going to post every time that I’m sick, or stressed, or studying late at night, or crying, or having an anxiety attack...as much as I want to be real with what I post, there are some moments I’d rather not advertise to the world. So “yes,” as I have generically responded, “I love the music therapy program, I made friends, I survived, I had a good time, It was a good first year,” and et cetera.
But, as I’ve mentioned already on this blog and to many of my close friends, there were many times that I didn’t feel that:
Caught up in mental illness, stress from schoolwork, and lack of sleep, I’d fear that I was losing my passion for music.
Overwhelmed by the city and missing my suburban home, I’d find myself searching for any nature I could find (even if that meant a freezing trip to the pier by a frozen lake), and I longed to be on a more beautiful or different campus. (Why didn’t I pick a school in California again??)
Balancing both new and old friendships, keeping in touch with family, and living with roommates for the first time, I’d worry so much about what people thought of me, resulting in a feeling of loneliness that I’d never experienced before.
Comparing my worst moments to other’s social media posts, I’d worry that my “college experience” wasn’t the best it could be, and that I was missing out on something, somewhere, with anyone else than the people I had around me.
(Just to name a few of the struggles of college)
This is my third full week back home for the summer. To go from living in a relatively clean, calm apartment with three college roommates to a busy, loud, and messier house with two younger brothers is a big change. Sure, I loved visiting on breaks and weekends because everything would be focused on having fun with family and friends. Now, it’s back to the “norm,” if it’s even possible to call it that. So much of my life here is different than what I had gotten used to while living on campus: Instead of living on my own schedule, I have family responsibilities to tend to. Instead of having my own bathroom and a neat bedroom, I share my bathroom with two boys and my old bedroom looks like a messy blast from the past. Instead of being immediately included in everything as I used to be, I have to be more intentional about reconnecting with friends, catching up on what I’ve missed, and getting to know my friends’ new friends.
While none of the above may seem like incredibly difficult circumstances, and I’m not trying to claim that they are or complain about them, I most definitely struggled coming back to Columbus. As much as I missed my friends here, I also miss the new friends I’ve made in Cleveland. As much as I missed game and movie nights with my family, I miss having my own space and a walkable city outside my door. As much as I’m grateful that school is done for now, I sometimes miss having a schedule of things to do and a routine for my free time. And as much as I love having fun with my friends and grad party hopping all around Columbus, I really freaking miss the lake views and the breezy (way less humid) weather in Cleveland.
It’s so hard to have love divided between two places. It’s a challenge to accept where I am now, and embrace making summer memories here in Columbus.
Yet through all of these strange new feelings, I’ve seen more and more personal growth.
God has gifted me with moments of learning, accompanied by pure joy and overflowing love and quiet peace. They come in the laughter of friends, in the excitement of my family, in missing Cleveland, in loving Columbus, and most of all, in the transition:
when I’m pushed to my limits. When I must choose whether to surrender to His plan for me in this time, or just fall apart. To embrace every good moment of life, or just go through the motions. To love where I’m at, or just spend all my energy hating the change.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that choosing God’s way is always the best. Surrender brings freedom, trust brings peace, accepting circumstances brings deeper understanding, and embracing the life that God has given us brings a love and joy beyond anything this world could give.
Hi! My name is Rachel Schoeff, and I'm a college student in Cleveland, Ohio. With this blog, I aspire to share a little bit of what God is doing in my life, and use that to inspire others. We're all messy people, and we're never going to be perfect, but I hope that, together, we can all learn to embrace being "perfectly in progress."