(This is a blog post I wrote for my PLA course.)

One of the best things about college that I’ve discovered so far is that it seems to be four years comprised of moments. Obviously, moments make up any stretch of time, but college in particular is full of important ones – moments that make me realize things about myself, moments that challenge expectations I’ve been groomed to believe until now, moments that allow me to appreciate what I have, moments that deal blows initially but ultimately teach me more than any textbook ever could.

I know that someday I will look back on my time in college as a collection of memories; memories that have become faded as time passes and I can no longer remember the exact way my dorm room was arranged or the exact streets to walk down to take me to my favorite places. Some of the moments will no longer be as fresh in my mind, and though I’ll look at the old polaroid picture with the smiling faces and the date written at the bottom, I won’t be able to recall what jokes were told, what movies were watched, what secrets were shared in the way that I can right now.

But it makes me happy to think that I’ve been able to have so many moments – both big and small – so far during my time here that I’m not the same person I was when I first came to Penn State just a little over a year ago. My life leading up to now has been so full of anticipation for those “life experiences” that everyone always talked about, and now I can feel myself having those experiences and changing for the better because of them.

The first moment was the first night in my dorm room, sleeping by myself before my roommate got there knowing that it would be months before I returned to my bedroom at home. Then there was the moment when I went home for the first time in October and realized how strange it felt to be packing a suitcase to go to my house in West Chester. Then there was the moment when my maps app told me that my “home” was Simmons Hall and not 1245 N. Ashbrooke Drive. These moments, though they seemed small at the time, were big steps in realizing my growing independence and transition from childhood to really taking care of myself by myself. I still depend on my parents for so much, but college has taught me to depend far more on myself.

Some moments I’ve had with my friends have taught me what it really means to connect with other people on a level I’d never experienced. There’s something about living in the same hall as people, getting nearly every meal with them, running late night errands with them and for them, and experiencing things together on a daily basis that is unmatched. From the first moments I met some of my best friends (and it’s crazy to think that I didn’t know most of them before freshman year) to moments now when we’re sitting in my dorm room, eating donuts and playing taboo and feeling like we can talk about absolutely anything with no shame or judgement – I have learned from them all. I have learned what it means to have a group of people looking out for me and caring so much about my happiness even when I don’t prioritize it enough myself.

I could go on and on about the specific defining moments I’ve had in college to this point, ranging from the good ones to really bad ones, but I think what’s even more important is the total effect they’ve had on me. As cheesy as it sounds, I have learned so much through experience and I feel wiser as a person because of my time here. I’ve met wonderful people, seen wonderful things, and am often struck by the surreal sensation that so many things going on around me every day are so much bigger than myself.

I know I always get so sentimental and cliché in these blog posts, but no amount of writing can do justice to how grateful I am for these moments that are shaping me every single day. So I’m going to continue pay tribute to what I’ve been given one blog post at a time 🙂

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