A Reflection from a College Senior

A Reflection from a College Senior

I’m a senior at Georgetown University, or at least, I was.  I guess, I still am for a little under a month more, but somehow, it feels like the chapter has already been closed.  It’s currently the last full week of class and I always imagined that this would one of my most bittersweet moments.  I imagined being a little scared that 18 years of education was finally ending, a little sad about leaving the place that I am so proud to call home, and really excited about everything that was to come.  As you can imagine, that’s not how things actually look.

Just over a month ago, I would have thought my current mind state unimaginable. I sobbed as my car pulled away from Georgetown’s front gates and I took one last look at the place that I love with my entire being.  I knew I’d be back, but I also knew it would never be the same again.  Never again would my entire life be contained within those gates, though it would always be home.  When I arrived home, I broke down again as I saw my graduation robe hanging on my closet door, a painful reminder of the finale I felt was snatched from me.  For days, I found myself staring at walls and breaking down into tears over the parts of my life that I would never have and never get back.  Then, I started to put myself back together– I started to do hobbies, I started to make weekly Zoom and FaceTime plans, I tried to make the best of what I had.

Then, April 4 hit.  For the last 14 months, I had been the outreach chair for a gala that was supposed to be on April 4, but had now been postponed to an unannounced date.  My work with this gala is one of my proudest achievements in college, but this pride only made its absence hurt more.  I spent the day feeling like I was drowning in my own sadness.  I was angry at myself for my own sadness– here in my home state, people are grieving daily for their lost loved ones and I was crying over not being able to put on a pretty dress and go to a fancy party.  Yet, some part of me did believe my grief was valid– I had worked hard and now, while I would be able to eventually see the event come to life, it would no longer be an event in which I had ownership over. It would not be mine.

That’s when it hit me.  The grief I had been experiencing over college ending and every missed event came down to that: it would not be mine anymore.  College wouldn’t be my life anymore.  Georgetown wouldn’t be my place anymore.  The Tombs wouldn’t be my neighborhood bar.  My campus house wouldn’t be mine anymore.  In a split second, it was all gone and in this crazy time we are living in, I felt like I never knew what the world around me would look like when I woke up. I felt like I was losing the very things I held onto for stability: the things I knew that were mine.  Without the institutions and places and physical events to grab onto, life was disorienting, especially in the midst of a pandemic where I fear even going to the grocery store.  Yet this night when I cried and the world felt like it was spinning too fast, I realized I still had so much I was holding onto as my own: I have my amazing and caring family, I have my friends from all parts of my life that lift me up, I have my years of education, I have my memories that could last me a lifetime, I have my faith, and I am blessed to say I have so many communities coming together right now.

Gratitude carried me out of the dark.  And in the light, I could finally truly see the world around me, the world that I used my own sadness to hide from.  I was afraid that if I stopped thinking about myself, I would see a world so decimated by this virus that hope was gone and light was rapidly fading. It was easy to believe this fear in this time of isolation: we cannot see anyone outside of our households, we must cover our faces now with masks when we go outside, and it feels like people have been reduced to numbers in the statistics given during daily briefings.  Fear is fair in this time, but when I looked out, I saw so much hope.  I saw so many good people doing great, extraordinary acts everywhere I looked from people organizing fundraisers to aid those in need to my neighbors coming together for a drive-by thank you salute daily at our local hospital to those using whatever talents, skills, or abilities they had to try to bring joy into people’s lives.  I even think to the small act of receiving a simple text from a friend saying hello and staying connected during this time and I see hope and grace in them.

I have found that when you allow yourself to see hope, you don’t end up brought back in by the sadness.  The sadness tricks you, it makes you think that everything is lost, but when you look up, you realize the sadness was lying to you the whole time.  Things are so so far from perfect right now, but there is still good to be found.  And while I may still wish I got to have all the milestone events that accompany the end of one’s college career, I’m just grateful that I got to be part of so much good and that I get to walk away from this university having gained so much.  I’m grateful that my family, my friends, and myself continue to be healthy and that we are blessed with wonderful people all around us.

I want to end this with some of Kate Tempest’s words, for I think she describes my feelings and this moment best:

“Even when I’m weak and I’m breaking,

I’ll stand weeping at the train station

‘Cause I can see your faces

There is so much peace to be found in people’s faces.”

 

“More Empathy

Less greed

More Respect

All I’ve got to say has already been said

I mean, you heard it from yourself

When you were lying in your bed and couldn’t sleep

Thinking couldn’t we be doing this

Differently?”

My Fall Bucket List

My Fall Bucket List

Summer took a long time to say its goodbyes this year, as the high heats continued for all of September.  This weekend, the temperatures have finally started to drop and I am so happy to trade in my sundresses for my sweaters.  I’m home in New York this weekend and am able to celebrate the beginning of fall in my favorite way: picking pumpkins and eating apple cider donuts.  No matter where I buy my apple cider donut from, the first bite brings me back to being a kid apple picking with my family on an orchard. We would spend hours picking four huge bags of apples, and before we could head home, we would always stop at the orchard store to each get a warm apple cider donut.  It was always the perfect ending to some of my favorite days.  

This year, it looks like I won’t be able to go apple picking in New England like usual, but that doesn’t mean I am looking any less forward to fall.  I thought it would be fun to put together a bucket list of activities for me to do this fall and I thought I would make it as a fun graphic so everyone can join in on the fun!

My Fall Bucket List!-5

Life Update: Summer Recap

Life Update: Summer Recap

With it now officially being fall, I felt like it was the appropriate time for a summer recap (even though it still feels like summer here in D.C.).  Next up will be a list of everything I am excited for this fall and it’s near endless– fall is one of my favorite seasons!

Summer Recap:

  1. One of the things I loved most this summer was really developing what I want my blog and Instagram to be right now.  It’s gone through A LOT of changes since I’ve started, trying to find the niche that makes me happy but also serves a need for my followers.  This summer, I realized what I’m passionate about at the moment is affordable fashion. I love finding outfits that don’t break the bank but look amazing (here’s a few of my favorites that I shared on Instagram this summer).  I’ve mainly only been showing this interest and passion on Instagram, but I want to integrate it more into the blog from now on.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be doing life updates like these and lifestyle posts, but there will definitely be more affordable fashion too.

2. I got to explore California (I blogged about it here and here and here and here) and it was amazing!  I really only was in LA but I could have stayed forever with a million other things to do. I promise, I’ll be making a return to the west coast soon to explore more!

3. I worked an amazing internship!  I got to learn so much this summer while working at Amazon Web Services in digital marketing.  This internship affirmed to me that I love digital marketing and really do want to pursue a career in it.  

4. I baked…a lot.  Thanks to my roommates this summer for being my official taste-testers of everything I made!  My favorite recipe by far was the recipe for Banana Bread from Flour Bakery in Boston.

5. I went to Her Conference and left feeling empowered and inspired!  It was such an amazing opportunity to hear so many amazing women speak about their lives and journeys.  Also, here is where I discovered journalist Mandy Velez, whose story of paying off her student loans is SO inspiring.

6. Visited some museums!  When I was in Orlando, one of the things I missed most about DC was all of the amazing and accessible museums.  This summer, it was nice to have some time to explore the museums (thanks to all the friends who joined me for these adventures!)

7. Turned 21!  I, of course, had myself a week of festivities and I am so grateful for my friends who celebrated with me, including those who came from out of town to join the fun!

8. Had a mini DCP roommate reunion!  If you’ve been following for a while, you know how meaningful the DCP was to me and my roommates played a HUGE role in this!  I was so excited that two of them were able to come to DC for a weekend and celebrate my birthday and our friendship together!

9. Made it to two boy band concerts: Backstreet Boys and the Jonas Brothers.  I’m not a huge Backstreet Boys fan, but their concert was so much fun and I danced the night away!  The Jonas Brothers is the concert I’ve been wanting since I was 10, and it truly made all my childhood dreams come true.

10. I am impressed with the amount of tv I managed to watch.  I was an avid follower of both the Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, along with binging Riverdale, Jane the Virgin, and Veronica Mars on streaming platforms.

 

That’s all that I was up to this summer!  I’d love to hear what you were all up to and I can’t wait for next week’s blog post of the 10 things I’m most excited for this fall!

The Magic of the Movies

The Magic of the Movies

This blog started out as a self-care resource and as I look back, I’m shocked that I never shared my favorite self-care activity: going to the movies.  I know the whole spiel about how the movie theaters are dying out, thanks to streaming services, but to me, the movie theater is one of the most magical places in the world.  There’s nothing quite like the lights dimming and for a brief few hours, there is nothing in the world except the story you are being shown on the screen. It’s being swept away and you feel everything with no buffers– it’s happiness, it’s sadness, it’s terror, and it’s love.  The music bellows around you and you’re not you anymore, all that matters is the adventure on screen.

 

It’s similar to that feeling I used to get as a young kid reading a great book– everything drifted away as the words circled around me, forming a new world.  As I got older, distractions came in and when I sit down with a book, I still feel the vibration of my phone, the sounds of the world around me on the metro, and the thoughts that never stop running through my head.  The movie theater is special to me because it takes out all those distractions. I turn my phone off, I sit in the silent theater, and my thoughts focus in on the story that encompasses all my senses. It’s the one spot in the world that I truly feel I can disconnect and when life gets overwhelming or I feel a bit alone, the movie theater is the first place you can find me.  It’s magic.

 

To honor my love for the movies, I thought I would share my four of my favorite movies of all time, though this list (other than number one) is constantly changing and my favorite quote from each.

 

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s 

 

Favorite line: The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.

 

  1. You’ve Got Mail

Favorite line: “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

 

  1. Begin Again

Favorite line: “Absolutely! That’s when the magic happens.”

  1. 13 Going on 30

Favorite line: “You don’t always get the dream house, but sometimes you get pretty close, you know?”

 

Open Your Heart

Open Your Heart

Yesterday, I heard the phrase “harden not your heart” and in light of recent days, I couldn’t help but feel that this was the most fitting phrase to be said.  The world is hard and difficult and it’s easy to feel like you have to be hard to get through it. Hold onto your light– in the darkness, it is the brightness that leads the way out.

We all have our own difficulties in life.  Maybe, you’ve lost someone recently. Maybe, you feel like the world is growing scarier by the day and the instability shakes you to your core.  Maybe, things just aren’t falling into place for you the way you want. The hard moments hurt. This time may hurt.  

And when things get hard, the world seems to yell at you to harden your heart.  Lock the doors, keep them all out, see them as enemies. Close the curtains, grow more serious, become a fighter.  Keep yourself first, cut out the ones who disagree, trust no one. Every day becomes your battlefield and you never know if you’ve won, because you’re fighting in the dark.  You’re alone and you’re scared. No one blames you for hardening your heart, but at the end of the day, you need to let the light back in to know if you’re moving forward.

I often find myself struggling with this. It’s easy to view things as black and white, as good and bad.  It’s easy to blame others when life seems too complex to ever comprehend.  It’s easy to prepare for the worst and never expect the best. But, it doesn’t make us feel any better.  It makes us bitter, scared, and alone.

We have to open our hearts and let love back in.  Love those in our lives, despite their flaws. Love ourselves, despite our flaws.  Love this world and believe that people are good, despite it all being flawed. Love and light are the answer.  It’s hard sometimes, but make that effort, to open your heart again and believe that even in the darkest moments, a light can shine through and save the day.