Saturday, May 31, 2014

A roller coaster of a year

"What are you feeling? You graduate in a week, how do you feel about that? You're moving 7 hours away in 3 months, are you nervous? All your friends are going to be gone, but most of them will stay in Lexington, don't you wish you were staying in Lexington? How do you feel?"

MENTAL BREAKDOWN OCCURS.

Yes, I know all of these things are happening, thank you for bringing them up at any point without warning and letting my brain swarm on anything that sounds like any of these questions. 

But today, I'm just going to say that I feel healthy.

No, I'm not on some great clean diet, and no, I haven't run a 5k this morning, but I feel really, really healthy. Which is something that's greatly overlooked in this crazy year. I think I started out this year in a weird, yet excited state where I was still coming off my LBW high (yes, almost a year later and it still affects me) and missing all of my great friends. Senior year in terms of schoolwork is incredibly easy, but in terms of life, not so easy. Maybe that's just me, but the year starts off in mid-August, when the Common App's already been out for two weeks and some of your classmates are starting the first day of school with it already finished. Let the panic ensue, as you realize that you don't know who you are or what to do. 

Everything hits you so suddenly, even though you've known about it for four years and if you're lucky like me, you still even had extra help from people at school. Everything starts to become this sneaky whisper among your friends and peers as you hear from everyone applying for school, but no one will actually say it because "so-and-so is applying there, too". I have dealt with four years of high school and have been lucky enough to escape social drama, but I have never seen anything like this. It's a constant comparison of your GPA to their GPA and ACT scores a few points here and there, and it feels like every single thing is important to your college application, and thus, to your life. You take crazy insane ACT classes because at that point in time, every. single. point. matters. (Reality check: it doesn't.)

You start to write essays where you're asked to analyze everything about who you are, but it may not even be who you are, it's more of how you want colleges to see you. Maybe you apply Early Decision like me and wait on pins and needles for that December 15th date where you know you have the chance to know where you're living for the next four years. And maybe you applied ED like me and get rejected, finding out that the dream school that's perfect for you doesn't think you're perfect for them, and of course, this rejection happens the night before your hardest final.

So then you decide to apply to more schools, making your list total up to 15 colleges and spend your winter break worrying about how you can possibly add more extracurriculars to your resume and how many more recommendations you can get and applying to more schools, the bills only racking in as you send every standardized test score in to every school. 

And then January 9th comes and you're finished applying to schools! No more Common App crashing the night that an app is due and no more little yellow circles telling you that you're still not finished, because you are finally finished! All stress is gone, it's just up to the colleges now, right?! And sadly, I'm going to tell you no.

Now, I really am a positive person. I don't want you to think that you're going to spend the first semester of your senior year as psycho as me, but if you are as psycho as me, then that's how it feels. There were PLENTY of fun things that happened in that first half of the year...these were the things I blogged about, y'all! Fun things! I didn't want to put the stressful things on here. 

That's how first semester goes, and then second semester is just a little bit different for everyone. Some have been accepted into their dream schools and already know, but second semester is when all of the decisions come and different people do different things. Mine was full of surprises and happiness and stress and sadness, which all have made me who I am today, even just a few months later. You're having fun, but you're still trying to figure out the hypothetical situations of which school you could attend and from January until March, you're asked almost every single day where you're going to school. You have lots of interviews and consider visiting schools. Maybe you've heard back from some schools (hey, I heard back from Richmond in the first week of January) and the money you've been awarded, but you still don't know because not all of the decisions have been released, and they won't be until April 1st.

Maybe you float along through those months because your mind is focused on April 1st. Now, again, I don't want to completely depress you, because those months were still incredibly amazing. I would not trade them in for anything in the world because so many new people entered my life during these months. Because your college apps have already been sent in, you're trying to figure out which things you actually enjoy, and which things you were only doing because you wanted to put them on an app. The college decision week comes, and if you're like me, you hear 8 different rejections and 3 different wait list spots within 36 hours. Yeah, and those were wait list schools that I really thought I had a good chance at, so that overall feeling kind of sucked. I remember my dad saying that it was about getting back up on your bike after you've fallen off it, and those rejections didn't hurt as badly as I thought they would. But it was still an odd feeling to then go on my senior year spring break with my best friends, just having found out everything I had wanted all year (one of my decisions actually came while we were in the car). It was this feeling of knowing I had poured my life and soul into getting into college for four years, and just like that, it was all over. 

Suddenly, one of my top schools was a school that I didn't even want to apply to and had zero interest in attending at first, but because of life happening and all, you plan a trip to go visit and love it. Spring break was weird because I was planning these two other trips to visit colleges and the countdown to May 1st, the deadline for all college deposits, had begun. Every day you woke up with the feeling that it was a day closer to having to decide where you're going to school, and that feeling killed me. Even one of my best friends on spring break was waiting on a phone call to be told whether or not she would be awarded a scholarship that would determine where she's going. 

(And then you get sun poisoning and lose 10 pounds and maybe that's where your unhealthy eating habits begin.)

Then you get back late Saturday night from spring break and Sunday morning you travel to a different city to see your boyfriend and throw up in the bathroom of the restaurant without him knowing because you're still trying to stay strong and be invincible, when really, you have the plague (aka still sun poisoning) and have to go to a different state that night to visit a college. Then you go with your mom three hours away and have a meltdown in a restaurant because you're told that your other potential college choice isn't what your parents want for you. 

You visit the school and love it, even though you never thought you would (and you still can't eat anything), but cry the whole way home because everything is scary and you're freaked out by the future.

So you get back Monday night (and watch your UK Cats lose the national championship to UConn....) and try not to say anything to your friends who are asking about your spontaneous college visit, but Friday morning, you get up early and drive to a school that's ultimately more expensive and further away. How easy it would be to have decided on the other school when that's what's logical! But oh no, you fall in love with this school. You can't think of any other option because this is home. This is home away from Lexington and where you belong and you just know it, deep down in your gut and you want to buy everything from the bookstore and move in right then.

You know your college decision is already basically made, but you can't say anything about it on social media (because you're a freaking blogger....okay, maybe not everyone's a blogger) and you're scared to tell people because it's not official and it's hard to tell the people you care about that you want to move 7 hours away. It scares you to accept the reality that everything, and absolutely everything, is changing. 

So many other things are happening, because you're getting excited by your friends making decisions and nervous for them, but the same sorts of feelings are happening for them, too. They're freaked out by parents telling them days before deadlines that they want something different. You're so overcome with happiness with your friends that you forget about your own decision.

Then, you announce your college decision and deposit at your school, and immediate satisfaction comes. YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO SCHOOL. This is what you've waited on the whole year, your whole life basically! 

Then, "the feels" start (or maybe they've already started). The last of everything. Prom and senior skip day and even your last AP test have you feeling a little bit sad and old. Everything is still so much fun. No one really cares about things anymore and you're just having so much doggone fun. Then it gets to be two weeks before the day you graduate and you realize that you may not want this to end. All of the things you wanted to end, you're not ready for it to all be over. High school may have been good or bad, but it's hard to accept that it's just over. And now, here you are, the week before you graduate high school and leave completely, so many other things having happened in a week, and for once, you feel healthy. Or rather, I feel healthy. 

I am sad and happy and excited and scared and confused, but have I not been all of those things all year? I feel healthy because I feel courageous. It took a lot of courage to go through so many things and rejections, but I feel like maybe, I have this whole thing in my hands. In a week, I'll no longer be bound to a public high school system and no longer legally stuck to spending my hours in a certain place. I am healthy because my happiness isn't affected by other people and institutions as much as it had felt.

Why did I write this post? To make myself seem completely dramatic to those older than me? To scare the crap out of those younger than me? No. I wrote this post because it was my truth this year. It was my complete truth of feeling unhealthy and out of bounds and ALL sorts of feelings. This year has been the happiest I've ever felt and the saddest I've ever felt. I assure you that not everyone feels like this, no worries. I have grown so incredibly much this year and it only makes me excited for the rest of my life. I have zero idea where my life is going (only that it's going to Richmond, Virginia) and I may or may not have a meltdown about this frequently. But because of all of the stuff that's happened this year, I know I can do it. I have complete trust in the Lord and all of the things He has planned for me. It's easy to see this time as an ending, but as cheesy as it sounds, it really is just the beginning. And for that, I praise God and thank Him for these opportunities to begin my life again. 

I'm excited for seeing where this blog takes me, spending time with my friends and family for these last couple of months, getting tan (and hopefully not sun poisoning), becoming physically healthy again, trying new things, baking, loving Kentucky and all it has to offer, painting my nails whatever color I desire, writing more about life and trying to share advice about high school/college applications, sleeping as late or waking up as early as I wish, and just watching my life take itself in a new path. 

For a crazy wild and crazy fun year, thank you all. Thank you to my blog readers who shared in all of my feelings and thank you to all of my friends and family who have dealt with my many antics this year.

And don't worry, I have a feeling there will be lots more of reflecting coming up. Can't get rid of this girl.

xoxo,
Meredith

7 comments:

  1. This was amazing. Senior year is one of the best years of high school, but it's also one of the scariest! There are so many unknowns. College doesn't get any easier when it comes to tough moments and unknowns, but the friends you make and the home you've chosen for yourself for the next four years helps out with that tremendously. I'm only half way through, but I can already tell these will be my favorite four years. You're going to do great! Good luck with your HS graduation too! By the way, I go to JMU, which isn't too far from U of R, so if you ever want to meet up... (:

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm very excited and a little nervous, but I've only heard good things about these next four years! I love living through your college life, if that doesn't sound creepy... :) And yes, of course, I'd love to meet up sometime!

      xoxo, Meredith

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  2. This was amazing. College is an amazing experience, and I promise you'll be okay! I went to school 4 hours away from my home in New York and it made me appreciate where I came from so much more than I would if I stayed at home!

    Pink Champagne Problems

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    1. Thank you so much, Dana! I'm ecstatic to leave home sometimes, I think it'll always keep me loving my Kentucky roots! And hey, this may be the only chance I get to move away, so I guess I've got to take it!

      xoxo, Meredith

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  3. I know exactly how you feel! I graduated 2 years ago today, and I was freaking out because I packed up and left all my friends and family in Dallas and moved to New York for school! It's a crazy time but enjoy this last summer and you will LOVE college!

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    1. Wow, what a move! Two cities I've always loved (even if I'm admiring Dallas without having been there... whoops)! Thanks so much for this!!

      xoxo, Meredith

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  4. I applied to 13 different schools, got waitlisted and denied at my top three, and ended up going to a school I just applied to just because it was in San Francisco, and honestly? I couldn't be happier! Everything happens fr a reason and there will be semesters in college even that seem like hell but when you look back, you will see how worth it every second of stress and frustration was!
    xoxo

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Well thank ya for wanting to leave a comment! I love reading what you think! xoxo