Reflections on a Special Semester

This semester has been a whopper. I’ve learnt a lot – including the “proper” spellings of many words.

There’ve been quite a few listicles lately, so this will be more of a, let’s say… stream of consciousness post (throwback to our Faulkner unit, 11th grade English).

I came into this semester running away from some things – responsibility, a familiar (and therefore slightly less magical) place, my own fears. I thought a new place would bring a miraculous awakening of purpose, which was flawed logic. But surprisingly, this hope came true anyway.

Let me clarify – it had nothing to do with my move of house, university, country, and continent. It had nothing to do with buying a plane ticket and running away.

It had everything to do with surrounding myself with an entirely new environment made up of new people, new challenges, and new responsibilities. This could’ve happened anywhere. It could’ve happened back in Oklahoma. It was inevitable, this thing called “growing up.”

I learned how to pay rent, how to set up a recurring phone bill, how to grocery shop and feed myself (that could do with some revision, but I’m not dead yet), how to navigate airports alone, how to budget feeling comfortable in my new home for a year against wasting money on unnecessary home goods. Still, these are lessons everyone needs to learn, and lessons we all eventually do learn.

My first year in university was in many ways just a beta version of real life. I lived on campus in dorms with lots of slightly frightened kids far from home, eating from a pretty comprehensive meal plan. There was absolutely no need to leave our beautiful campus if I didn’t wish to, which was great – albeit slightly problematic.

In the end, all it meant was I learned these lesson a little late. That’s ok – what’s important was learning them eventually.

I’ve realized it feels great to finally feel like an adult. This has probably been my best semester yet. Along with growing up a bit, I’ve made new friends, come to really miss and appreciate the friends I have in Texas and Oklahoma, gotten to know a new place like the back of my hand, and, probably most importantly, figured out an academic path that makes me really, really happy and excited for the future. I might even be looking into enrolling in a master’s degree in computer science (keep that one hush-hush; we’ve seen my plans change pretty radically over the past 19.425 years). For once, I not only feel optimistic about my numeric results but also about the semester as a whole and all that I’ve actually learned about myself and the world around me.

The future is exciting, and what makes it so is that it’s still almost entirely unknown and flexible. Anything could happen, so long as I set my mind to the path ahead and charge forward with curiosity and excitement.

I can’t wait to jump into next semester ready and eager to learn even more! But for now, I see nothing wrong with spending winter break avoiding responsibilities, curled up in my pajamas drinking hot chocolate and watching movies with my family…

Until next time,

family

Ellie x

Elena

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