Believe me when I tell you I know exactly how it feels.
I think our stories all share the same innocent beginning. We’re 18 years old with this full heart and an open mind, eager but anxious as we begin to discover what all this world has to offer. We move to unfamiliar places filled with unfamiliar people and are told that it should feel like home. Each day seems to brings new but exciting challenges, and then suddenly some of the foreign faces which at one point made this place feel like anything but home, are now the people who hold a permanent place in your heart. Weeks turn into months that come and go faster then you could have ever imagined, and before you realize it, you’re packing up your dorm room and dreaming of all the adventures that the next few years of your life have in store. With all the challenges and experiences that freshman year brought to my life, the one lesson that impacted me the most was that life gets easier once you learn to roll with the punches. However, I don’t feel that anything could have prepared me for the uppercut my life received only a few short months later that I like to call, sophomore year.
It’s funny how everyday we feel like we go through the exact same motions of the same routine, but when we look back at what life once was, nothing is the same. I had started my sophomore year with the same genuine excitement as everyone around me. With each new day I was loving my school and the people around me more and more. Thanks to my freshman year, I was surrounded by the most incredible friends who felt more like family than anything, and I was lucky enough to immerse myself in a sorority filled with the most influential and kind hearted girls I had ever met. Everything seemed to feel right for one of the first times in my life; until slowly but surely, without even realizing it, nothing seemed right at all. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know what caused it. All I know is that I found myself half way through my fall semester with this unexplained emptiness that was engulfing my heart. Nothing made sense, since by textbook definition I was living a very fulfilling life for a 19 year old, but I was waking up every single day feeling anything but fulfilled. The excitement for life I once so proudly possessed had disappeared. Things I was once so passionate about had no stimulation on my life without an explanation as to why. There was no worse feeling than being surrounded by people who cared so much with questions as to what was happening or what they could do to try and understand or help, and not being able to have any sort of answers for them. No matter how hard I tried to form the words to describe what exactly was happening to my life, the only thing I could say was “I don’t know.” I was reassured multiple times, “It’s the sophomore slump, and its normal.” or, ” It is just a phase, give it time.” After too many months of waking up everyday and wanting nothing more than to just go back to sleep, the idea of this ‘slump’ being my new normal was starting to set in. I tried to just roll with this punch like I told myself to do day in and day out but it was destroying my entire life. My relationships with not only my friends, but also my family, we’re being hindered by the fact that even though they held such huge and irreplaceable parts in my heart, I had selfishly decided that everything had become too much to handle- including them. It overwhelmed my entire body, leaving me physically exhausted and leaving my heart feeling more heavy and empty than ever before. I had become so numb to reality that the only way I’ve learned how to describe it is that I was simply existing in a world that was trying to give me everything.
It was a Friday morning and two of my best friends came into my room for a pow-wow that we found ourselves doing so often that year. Very simply they looked at me and said, “This isn’t you.” It had come to a point where this so called slump was about to turn into so much more if I didn’t make some much needed changes to my life.
Through the lonely, empty, and unexplainable feeling that had spent most of the year hurting my heart, I was taking for granted every single part of life. Naturally, that was the most immediate and important change I made. I stopped taking for granted even the smallest parts of my life and looked at everything as an opportunity to learn or grow. I was learning to find happiness in simple things that I normally would have looked straight over. Very slowly, I started to want the adventures life throws at us instead of dodging them like I had done so often throughout the past year. Waking up didn’t seem so much like a chore, and going to bed stopped coming with a wish for better days. Instead, all of it came with grateful heart and a giant thank you, for the people and lessons and realizations that helped me get to this state of pure bliss. As strange as it sounds, it felt like I was doing the monkey bars. I knew the destination I needed to get to and in order to do that I was anxiously dropping my grip on any security I felt I had and just like that, I was moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there are very many people who avoid this sophomore slump all together; but it doesn’t mean they won’t encounter a slump at some point in their life. Whether you can’t relate to going through something like this, you’re still in the middle of yours, or you are on the other side of it, theres only one thing that you need to keep in mind. Going through a slump might be the best thing that ever happens to you. I wouldn’t consider myself entitled, but I definitely didn’t realize how great life is until after I had gone through mine. It opened me up to beauty I was once blind to and gave me a greater determination to make the rest of my life, the best of my life. Here are a few of the most important things I learned during the best year of my life.
Believe me when I tell you I know exactly how it feels, and believe me when I tell you it might be the best thing that ever happens to your life.
In the words of a random quote I found on Pinterest, “So take the good with the bad, smile when your sad, love what you’ve got and remember what you’ve had. Always forgive and never forget, learn from mistakes but never regret. People will change and things will go wrong, just remember life goes on.”