There are many times I wish I could go back to the days where I spent my summers losing track of time, playing outside or vacationing in Northern Michigan with my grandparents and drinking Coca-Cola out of little glass bottles. I’m not going to lie: I had an awesome childhood. There is not a thing I would change.
Change. That is something that scares me. As humans, we are creatures of habit. We get so wrapped up in our daily routines that we don’t even think about it. Ten months ago I had a completely comfortable life in New Albany. I had lived there for 13 years. I had spent my elementary, middle and high school careers there. I developed lifelong friendships. I had a solid summer job where I had worked for four years. However, as the date of Sept. 1 grew closer, I was increasingly anxious. I was anxious to have a new place with new friends and where I would learn new things — a place I would be entirely on my own. I will admit the drive from Columbus to Athens with my parents and all of my possessions was somewhat troubling. While driving on 33 I was remembering all the memories from High School and how I would miss the people I had developed such a close bond with. I was afraid we would drift apart. My life would change from there. I would choose a career path and meet new people.
I’ve moved houses four times in my life, although I only remembering doing so once. Even then, I was too young to know the difference. I was in kindergarten, moving across town. After that, I spent the majority of my life in the “bubble” — as my mom likes to call it — of New Albany. Coming to Athens, I was excited to move to a new town and take a turn in my life. It was exciting until I watched my parents drive away from my dorm room window. Then it hit me. I was not sure when I would see them again. I knew there would be a weekend here and there. But that was the thing — a weekend. I was used to seeing them every night. I reassured myself that I would have the summer and the infamous six week OU winter break. However, come the end of that winter break I was so ready to go back to my new “bubble” in Athens. I had started a new life and was loving every minute.
Little I realized I was just getting started. It took a few weeks, but I formed a solid group of friends. I also reached out and joined some solid student organizations. I also decided who I was as a student needed to change. I was able to float my way through high school and graduate with a very respectable GPA (sorry mom and dad.) I knew that was going to change when I was in college. It’s very different when you know employers look at transcripts and you are paying thousands to get those grades. I realized I would have to put in more effort than I ever did in high school. I put much more time into being a successful student during my freshman year, perhaps a bit too much my first quarter. It seemed like I was lied to about the college experience. I was spending far too much time on school work. I asked one of my good buddies if college was like he thought it was going to be. He said no, “I thought it was going to be a big party.” It was not until late that quarter that I realized I needed to take a couple nights off. Underclassman: don’t get me wrong, college is much harder, put in the time Monday through Friday (or Thursday if you don’t have Friday classes) but make sure to take the time to unwind. I had thought that the way to remove stress was through work, that doesn’t work.
Upon my arrival in Athens, I had changed another thing about me. I had given up swimming. I had swum competitively for about twelve years. My brother also swam, so I had spent my life by the water. At first it felt nice not to have the constant two- or four-hour commitment every day. However, I would soon grow to miss the sport and its competitive nature. I turned to mountain biking as an alternative Spring Quarter. It was just what I needed to relieve the stress. There was something about the rolling hills of Southern Ohio and the mud that was crusted to my face that was extremely stress relieving.
I had banked on this summer as being the time to reunite with the friends that I had neglected during my first year away. That would also change. I had accepted an internship in Akron for the summer, another drastic change that I would have to adjust to. However, I would like to say that it is going well. My work is enjoyable, and the people I work with are too. People had warned me about the rough parts of Akron, but it really isn’t that bad (knock on wood). All in all, this is another change that I am happy with.
I have moved a total of six times in my life now. Two of those six have occurred in the past nine months. The crazy thing about change is that it seems to be constantly accelerating. Whether we like it or not, we are along for the ride. I just have to remember to hold on and enjoy the ride. That seems to be working thus far.
“The name of the game is to advance.” That is something that my High School Swim coach would always say, particularly at the height of the season. I still think about that quote on a daily basis. It is one of the things that keep me going. It got me to state swim meet, and now it’s getting me though life — the carrot on the stick, so to speak — because I know that only through change can I get somewhere in this crazy life.
My cool dudes at OU. Photo credit goes to a Mister Jim Ryan (not photographed)