My 2015-2016 school year has been…an interesting school year to say the least. I wanted to originally call it My First Year of College, but I don’t think I should call it that. I’ve already got two years of college under my belt (resulting in an Associate’s Degree that I keep forgetting that I actually have lol), so this is technically my third year overall of college. However, this is my first year away from home at a four-year university, and it’s been a rewarding experience. I’ve learned so much in the space of a couple semesters here, life lessons that probably aren’t that important to other people, but they’re important to me.

When I first started here in August, I can’t even pretend that I wasn’t the least bit nervous. This was my first time away from home for a prolonged amount of time, and that’s not really something I’m used to. Let me rewind a bit. For anyone that doesn’t know, I went to community college for two years, which meant staying at home for two years after high school, saving a bit of money, working a bit, hanging around with the friends I had at the time – the normal late teenager/early 20-year-old stuff. Most importantly, I was at home with my family, whom I could physically see face to face every day and have a face to face conversation. Being at home was (and still is) my comfort zone, and even then, the thought of having to step out of that comfort zone and go away to university was something that I pushed to the back of my mind many times as I wasn’t ready to face that fact. I knew I would have to go to make my dreams come true, but that didn’t make the actual thought any less scary.

Anyways back to the story. In August of 2015 when I started at Virginia State University, again I have to admit, I was nervous. I tried to act like it wasn’t bothering me, but deep down in the pit of my stomach, I was nervous. I was about to be away from home, living in a room with people I didn’t know, surrounded by thousands of unfamiliar other students – some of them having already been here for a few years, others just starting that year as well. My roommate was pretty cool and we got along straight away, which took the edge off. My suitemate was cool as well and we all got along, which also made things a little easier. I did have this strange worry that in all of my classes I would be the only new person, but I had to keep telling myself that this was a university, not a high school. Loads of people don’t know each other, so I wasn’t the only lost turtle in this big world of university.

The first week at university was more of a chilled out week – why we had to be here a week before classes even began will forever remain a mystery to me. I suppose it was for everyone that was new to get used to the campus and to figure out where everywhere was. Anyway, when classes finally did begin, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I met a few people in all of my classes, some of them only just starting at university as well so it made me feel a bit more at ease. As the first semester progressed, everything was great and while I had a few wobbles and moans about wanting to go home, I can hardly complain. It was a pretty good semester, so it wasn’t bad at all.

I think this second semester, however, was when I was starting to think, “Okay enough now, I want to go home for three months – not three weeks.” The second semester did start off a bit rocky, but I got into the swing of things again after a couple of days and it has gone great for the most part – apart from my completely annoying 4:00pm class that has given me more headaches than I can even count this semester. Thankfully, however, my days have been late days – Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s classes didn’t begin until 1:00pm, and my Tuesday’s and Thursday’s class didn’t begin until 2:00pm. Late classes made for a chilled out semester for me for the most part. Again, not many complaints about this past semester, however. My only complaint might be the fact that I had to walk x-amount of miles across campus to the dining hall to eat, but that’s about it. Sometimes the food wasn’t really worth the walk, but whatever.

I only really have a few highlights of the school year, however. One of my first highlights was my volunteer work at the Zion Christian Memorial Church Daycare. I needed 25 volunteer hours for my social work class during the first semester and the lovely lady in charge of the daycare was willing to help me. Those six days I volunteered there were some of the happiest days I’ve had at university, as for one moment, I forgot about being a student that was volunteering for class and I was just a big kid again. Those kids may have completely exhausted me every single day, but they put the biggest smile on my face and made me happy. I even saw one of them recently when I went out to the store, and she remembered me and gave me a big hug.

Another huge highlight for me were the really nice people I met in my classes and of course the two I live with. There’s far too many to name, but everyone has been so kind and lovely and it means a lot – though a few of us were all in this ‘first year’ boat together. Still, everyone has been great, from the people I met and even down to a few of my professors throughout the year – they’ve been cool. My roommate and my suitemate were pretty cool and funny as well, so meeting and getting to know them was pretty awesome as well.

The biggest and best highlight ever, however, of the whole year was being accepted into the Social Work Program. I can’t even lie and pretend I wasn’t nervous about that, even throughout the interview I was nervous but I did manage to hide it. I had a whole pep talk with myself in the days leading up to the interview, then the day of the interview I had a whole pep talk with myself and even told myself to not worry if things didn’t work out, and that everything would be okay no matter what way the interview went. Honestly, at the end of the interview when the really nice lady told me I had been accepted into the program, I would have screamed if I wasn’t one of those people who knew how to remain cool, calm, and collected. However, as soon as I got outside, I screamed and called my mom to tell her. I even told the post office lady when I went to pick up a package, and she was really happy for me. That was my biggest highlight, and to be honest, I’m still in shock about it.

So, for the most part, this whole school year has been pretty amazing though I am looking forward to summer vacation. I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to even go to university, and I pray that he continues to bless me with the opportunity to continue my education some more in August. With the next two years of university being dedicated to the social work program, I look forward to what they might bring. I look forward to more friends, more laughs, fun times – everything.

And to be honest, I don’t care anymore who stays in my life or who goes. I’m happy either way – and that’s how it will always be, from now on.

2016-2017 School Year – I’m ready for you. Bring it on!

Everyone have a great summer (:

-Me xo