My third semester of college is over. Gone. I will never be able to relive it—truthfully, I don’t want to.
Although I have attended inspiring classes, created countless memories, and gained so much perspective, there were times of pressure, pain, and papers (so many papers). I have learned so much. I have lived so much. I have loved so much. But, man, it was a lot.
The melting moments burned, but they have allowed me to grow, to understand myself in significant ways—and so, the biggest takeaway from this semester is:
I am me—and that’s perfect.
That sounds incredibly cliché. I know. But this lesson has been so hard for me to internalize.
Last year, I was angry because I felt so different compared to my peers. My definition of a Friday night is limited to my couch, a pint of ice cream, and Netflix. But isn’t college about the late night adventures? The stupid decisions that make for great future stories? My only stupid decision was choosing to watch The Office for the hundredth time—I really need to diversify my media palette.
When I started college, I had this perception that in order for me to truly enjoy the university experience, I had to complete a checklist: make ____ friends, join ____ organizations, have ____ experiences, take ____ photos, explore ____ places, etc. This semester, I threw that checklist out the window. I did what I wanted. I went out. I stayed in. But more importantly, I accepted my introverted, baking-obsessed self. It was liberating.
Though let’s face it, I am a complete homebody, and sometimes I needed a push to go out, to explore, and to live beyond my apartment. My brother reminded me that life will go on, and so I have to take responsibility to form my own memories. His words allowed me to fill the pages of my life with more than just Michael Scott this semester. I stayed true to myself, but also tried not to limit my life because I was comfortable. The greatest growth comes when you leave your corner, and so I am trying to leave my corner—one step at a time (really small steps).
I also learned about self-compassion and self-worth. Often times in a university environment with so many incredible people, it’s hard to find value in your own presence. Am I enough? Am I behind? I asked myself this sometimes. My timeline, however, is different and what I am doing today, right now is perfect for me. It’s easier to write that though. I have to constantly remind myself that I will insha’Allah reach my notions of success. I am enough. You are enough.
This is beginning to sound like a cheesy movie. 😉
In addition to this great self-growth, I did have my fair share of internal wars and external chaos. Whether it was a day when everything seemed to fall apart or just “that kind of week”—life was crazy. Exams, papers, presentations, applications, deadlines, etc. I needed to remind myself to eat at times (unfortunately, Oreo cookies are not a balanced diet).
One of my favorite things about college, in general, is meeting people. People who possess an inspiring passion to enact positive change. People who have a kindness that can save the world. People who support others unconditionally. The people I have met at UT—and those I have yet to meet—have contributed to my third semester experience (and life) in significant ways. They teach about myself and how to be better, to do better.
The balance I have started to find has made my life so much more fulfilling. I spend my time doing exactly what I want. I am so happy with that, Allhumdullilah.
Academically, this semester was intellectually enriching. I have so much knowledge to share. Learning is one of the most amazing privileges to ever have—and the fact that the knowledge I have obtained barely scratches the surface of all the world has to offer is thrilling. I have so much more to learn.
My third semester has provided me with perspective that will guide me as I move forward with my life. I am forever changing. I am the combinations of all of my past versions. I am me, and I love that.
On to my 19th birthday (How did this happen?), winter break, and more positive growth!
What have I posted this semester? Read Below: