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river at night

We've finally made it — my last blog post before I head back to California as a college SOPHOMORE.

I got hired as a blogger before I even came to campus — I remember asking people during Orientation week if I could include photos of them on the blog. So I have blogged every week I have been here — taking a few hours on Sunday night to reflect on my past week and think about what I wanted to share with the world.

When I left for school,  I was 18 years old and had never lived anywhere except California. I'm a year older now, and I've spent nine months living in rural New Hampshire. Since September, I've had my first snowball fight, failed my first test, fell in love, dove into a frozen pond, tried a maple creemee, swam in the Connecticut river, got diagnosed with ADHD, did research on abortion access, competed in my first collegiate debate tournament, got elected as president of the debate team, made friends, cried because making friends is scary and hard and weird and we are all more nervous about it than we are willing to admit, got some good grades, got some bad grades, and eaten more Domino's pizza than I ever thought possible.

I learned a lot about myself — I learned that I like it when teachers know my name and that huge lecture classes aren't a great match for my learning style. I learned that the best time to do laundry is on Friday evenings, and you should always bring a hair tie when you go out dancing. I learned that there are resources on this campus to help me manage how my brain works — that "tough it out" isn't the only strategy for neurodiversity. I learned that budgeting for a weekly yoga class is important. I learned a lot about heavyweight rowing just by proximity.

I learned that I really like people from the South, even though I had never met one before college. I learned that everyone is more nervous than you think they are. I learned that I could backpack 60 miles in the "storm of a century." I learned that my friends came from every grade and every type of person.

In classes, I learned about the ethics of transgender athletes in sports, design thinking methodology, comparative politics, how to code in Python, how to work in STELLA, why closing Planned Parenthoods leads to an increase in domestic violence, why French film is so culturally relevant, how to do a z-test, why the Arab Spring happened, and everything you could want to know about microeconomics.

I'm a campus tour guide now, and I'll be president of the debate team next year. I show up to a few other clubs sporadically. I have met wonderful people scattered across campus who make me laugh on bad days. I think I am going to be a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major, and maybe a Human-Centered Design minor, but the other day, I thought maybe I would want to minor in Middle Eastern Studies.

I learned that the plan, as carefully color-coded as it is in my spreadsheet, will change.

I learned that college is hard — but that I can do hard things. I learned that there would be days that just suck, where all you want is a hug from your mom, and you will survive those days. I learned that a really good sunset over the river could make you forget those days even happened at all.

I learned that college is not a movie — that I am not leaving here with everything tied up in a pretty little bow. I have excitement, doubts, hopes, dreams, and anxieties about next year — maybe even more than I did for freshman year.

But for now, I am taking my finals, and I am heading home. I am going to pet my dog and go for a walk along the California coastline. When I left for college, San Francisco was familiar, and New Hampshire was scary. And now San Francisco is a little scary and a little familiar, and New Hampshire is too. How lucky am I to straddle the two coolest states in the union? How lucky am I to call them both home?

Next year holds many adventures — I'm excited to blog my way through them with you.

Until then,


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