Hey, it’s been a while! The last time I wrote for Willowjak was in August and it was about moving away to school in a month, and I have got a lot to catch you up on.
First of all, yes, the day did come to pack up the car, move in and start classes at the University of Waterloo. To be honest those first few weeks are a total blur and even though I can probably remember only half of the first month because of the nerves, I could almost definitely write seven separate blogs about the emotions I was feeling in September alone.
Whenever I would feel super overwhelmed, lonely or anxious, I would often whisper to myself:
“You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.
What you are feeling is exactly what you are supposed to be feeling and you’re doing exactly what is right.”
I used this as a mantra to remind myself that I was on the right path. I have been in Waterloo for
three months now. I have experienced some of the good and the bad that goes along with
university life and I can confidently say to you, that I still wholeheartedly believe that my
mantra was right and I truly am right where I am supposed to be.
As I sit and write this blog, at my desk, my roommate also working and a friend taking a nap on our super old, super ugly lime green couch named Kermit, I feel so lucky that I get two places to call home and that I have found a place that I feel exactly right in. I am certainly not saying that there have been no tough school days or homesickness, but I think the hard days are okay because I know (or at least feel) that I am going to be okay.
If you were to ask me before going to school if I was excited, I would have said “I think?”. Watching my two older sisters go off before me, I had pretty low expectations of those first few months. I don’t think I was pessimistic, just realistic. Reading Shy Liza’s blog about temporariness reminded me about what my biggest fear was when going off to school.
I was scared that permanence and stability would vanish from my life completely. I thought of how my sisters would leave for months and come back and things would be different, not in a bad way, I could just tell things had changed around me. When leaving for school this was my fear.
As I look back, I have realized that the thing I was most scared about was simply, change. As someone who advocates for social change, it seemed almost embarrassing that I was feeling this way. This has maybe been my biggest learning curve since university.
Though it may be the message in every Disney movie I’ve ever seen, it took the university experience for me to realize that change is inevitable and I am leaning into that, trusting that I am doing what is exactly right for me.
I miss my parents and my dog. I miss my job and co-workers and I miss the feeling of permanence you have in high school, when we can tell ourselves that things will stay the same forever. Anyone can say that they’ll always have the same friends, same passions and interests, but the truth is that if you let it happen, we are forever changing and that’s wondrous.
I like who I am becoming and am excited about how much ahead of me I have to learn, experience and feel. I guess if you are willing to take advice from an 18-year-old, I’d say that I am in a time in my life when change is celebrated, but that doesn’t have to go away. We can always accept new challenges and adventures and let them change you, let them become part of you. I am happy where I am today, but that says nothing about tomorrow.
So, let’s enjoy the adventure we are on now, whatever it is. Let’s trust the process and lean into the uncertainty of who we are.
I hope you’ll follow along to read about my journeys through young adulthood, mental health and big life transitions.