Rewind to my first day in college. I remember feeling unsure of this major transition in my life, from small high school senior to smaller college freshman. From a high school senior, the big kahuna on campus, to unimportant freshman in college. This new scene tied my stomach in knots, making me a nervous wreck. No more could I depend on coming home on laundry day to find that my parents folded my clothes and left them on my bed. Gone were the days could I come home to my mom’s warm and delicious home cooked meals. I fell victim to piles of wrinkled clothes and dining hall dinners. College proved itself as new lands for me, and I wasn’t sure what to do first. How could I make my new stomping grounds “home”?
The new surroundings forced me to adjust and find my own place, but that place wouldn’t appear right away. I had to take the plunge and join different clubs on campus. Each of them progressively immersed me into the Torero lifestyle of sandals, beach days and acai bowls. College also had the tendency to change nerds to frat bros, jocks to scholars, loners to student body presidents and me from introvert to over-the-top involved extrovert.
The transformation started the first time I went to Olé Fest and saw the behind the scenes work of Associated Students and the Torero Program Board. At that moment, I fell in love with the diversity and unity within the University of San Diego, and I wanted to be even more involved on campus. So, as soon as Alcala Bazaar, our student organization fair, came I signed up for everything from French Club, Outdoor Adventures, International Students Organization and the American Marketing Association. After a four years at USD, I’m a part of the exec board for my Marketing Club and part of Associated Students Communications board.
Now, with only a few weeks until graduation, I’m not hesitant to say I’m back to square one. I’m back in the mind set of a little freshman who’s frightened about what comes next. I’m afraid to leave my Torero family behind. After all, my friends extend beyond the senior class; I fostered great relationships with underclassmen, advisors, teachers and faculty during my time at USD, so I admit I have that gut wrenching sadness when “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C plays on the radio.
Though I’m leaving behind more than I started with, I’m excited to take the next step (or should I say flight) towards my dream job. This summer I’m interning in Dublin, Ireland with Global Experience, but with every leap there is a tumble. Just after figuring out how to “college,” I must readjust to a whole new way of life, “adulting.” I’m back at square one, a little fish in a big pond. In college, I only had to adjust to new people and a new city; but Dublin has me taking an 11-hour flight around the world, learning a new lifestyle, eating different food and being an eight-hours ahead of from my friends and family.
College taught me so much about who I am and what I can do, and I’ll carry that with me throughout the rest of my life, especially as I travel into my new adventure interning abroad. Despite being tossed into a new country, I can only think of the positive things: getting the opportunity to network with international companies, immersing myself in a new culture and meeting other students who feel the same nerves as I do. So what if I’m a little nervous? I’d rather be learning a new language in Ireland than stuck in the California I’ve known my whole life.
Moving forward after college and starting from scratch gives us the opportunity to find ourselves all over again—except this time we carry along all college taught us. We won’t be naïve little freshman searching for classes. We’ll be fresh, young adults who solve our own problems. So, to my fellow graduating seniors, don’t be scared to take the risk of starting over in the unknown. If we could do it at 18, we can do it again at 22.