I came in to U of R totally excited. At this point I was planning on majoring in environmental science (thinking that meant playing with furry little animals). The highlights of my first semester:
-Got into After Hours
-Met a boy
-Shea took me to NYC for the first time in my life
-Changed my major to BCS
For at least the first few weeks of college, I loved dorm life and stayed up late talking and studying and doing college-y things. I loved After Hours and my new boy.
Lots of great things happened first semester, but the down sides were realizing I HATED dorm life, and I also really was not the party type, and that made getting close to most people difficult. For someone as shy as me, it's not really very fun to be the only sober person at a party, and I really, really don't like the way being drunk makes me feel.
Lots of new and interesting things happened this semester. I got to go to CO and meet Shea's family and moved to the Music Interest Floor on campus with Shea.
-New place to live with a kitchen and cool music people
-Awesome Spring Break in Florida
-Did henna and cooked for my new friends
-Changed my major to Neuroscience
-Had more fun singing with After Hours
It was a pretty good semester, although I was starting to feel a bit disenchanted with college. Shea and I really hated living on campus, but were still stuck by the two year housing contract. We moved to GLC and he got a Jeep. I got a job on campus and worked there over the summer. That summer I also met one of my now best friends: Rory
Shea and I moved into GLC, apartment style dorms with our own tiny kitchen and bathroom. It was VERY VERY tiny. And still bound by all the rules of res life. But it was so much better! We stayed off-floor members with MIF, and I got to experience my first After Hours auditions. We took new members and got to sing them in.
-Roadtrip with After Hours and then visiting cousins
-Getting an iPhone
-First art class
I got to go to CO again and then returned to GLC. College was getting worse. I started to dread my classes.
-Advancing with After Hours to semifinals at the ICCAs
-Getting my first REAL apartment with Shea
-Going to the ICCA semifinals
There were some pretty awesome things that happened this semester, but I think it was also the turning point of my college experience. Everything started to go downhill from here. I really hated my major, and socially I did not mesh well anywhere. Stress was beginning to pile up.
This was probably the catalyst semester for everything that followed. I made a drastic decision and changed my major to art. Science courses, while I do love science, were making me miserable. I wanted to be doing art from the very beginning, but I thought it was too "fun" and that I should focus on something more serious. Switching majors entirely during my junior year meant I had a lot of catch-up to do. I didn't know many people in the art department, and I was also working part time. This made for a stressful semester, although less so than the previous one. Rory had stayed with us that summer, which was awesome, but also left me very sad with my social life once he was gone. Things were tense. I still didn't like parties.
-Classes I cared about
-Living in a real apartment
This semester was better and worse than the previous one. I loved my classes, but I was extremely busy and stressed and introvert me was exhausted from trying to maintain my social life.
Probably my worst semester. And my best one. I really have a hard time averaging things out, don't I? Everything changed in a huge way this semester. I was in the only art classes that were open, so I couldn't really spend time doing the kind of art I wanted to. I was EXTREMELY busy. EXTREMELY stressed. And still working 20 hours a week on top of it all.
-NYE in CO with Shea's Family
Obviously the best part of the semester was getting engaged. The worst part was quitting After Hours. One of the most truly devastating parts of college was realizing that it would just be too much to stay in the group I loved. I had no time to do anything outside of work, classes, and rehearsal. I was starting to distance myself from people (even more than usual). I hated this semester so much that I wanted to just quit college all together. Socially, I never fully meshed with the group. Or with any group, for that matter. It had taken a huge toll on me to stay as long as I did, because there were many other times that I had teetered on the edge of leaving and resolved to push through. When a passion turns into a burden, it's time to reevaluate. I did, and it was the right choice. I left on (what I thought were) friendly terms, and still got to see the group periodically.
I pushed through the rest of the semester, with a little less on my plate. Then Shea proposed, which was one of the best days of my life.
This was definitely my most difficult semester. Shea left to work in Atlanta, which we knew was going to be taxing. I luckily didn't have many classes to take, but that left me with more free time than I knew what to do with. Living in an empty apartment 15 minutes from campus with two cats was... lonely (I'm totally destined to be a cat lady). The worst part of a new major was that everyone in the art department already knew each other well from having four years together. As someone who usually takes an extremely long time to get close with most people, two years wasn't enough for me to have a social circle there. I was very lucky I had made a friend over the summer, and I had also found a career path I could be excited by. I wanted to do photography. I was also feeling happy. I thought I had got through my terrible last semester.
I was still able to be friendly with After Hours. There was a tiny part of me that felt maybe it was still not to late to chase that dream. I pushed that thought out of my head, because I didn't want to make things awkward and I really thought it was probably too late, especially since I wouldn't be able to participate in the concert. I went and saw the group at their auditions and realized how much I missed them and and singing. My circumstances had changed substantially, and I wished that had happened sooner. I wrote a letter to them that I never planned to send. I just have a tendency to write when I need to vent my feelings. It basically said that I really missed the group and wanted the opportunity to get as close with them as they were to each other. I wanted to finish off my college experience the way I always imagined I would. Shea read the letter and told me I should send it, because if I didn't I'd have always wondered if I could have gotten back in.
What followed was probably the worst experience I had in college. I'm not going to write about it too much here, but for legitimate reasons I was informed that the group had decided not to take me back. I found out in a painful manner that I know the group didn't anticipate, but it really sucked big time. What also sucked was that the whole situation effectively ruined my relationship with the group. I basically said that I understood and respected that the group had the integrity to do what was best for them, but I was hurt by the way the whole situation was handled. I didn't see After Hours anymore after that. I think it would have been too awkward for everyone involved. There was a period in the winter where I thought maybe I'd have one more chance at reconciliation, but I found out with certainty that I was not wanted shortly after. Unfortunately I no longer have a relationship with the current members.
I realize that After Hours takes up a huge portion of my college retrospective. They were a huge part of college for me, and really had a large impact on my whole experience. I truly believe that the experiences I had in the group were a net positive. They were a great bunch of people, but sometimes great things just don't work out. I don't regret quitting, but I do wish things could have gone differently. I think one of my greatest disappointments is that I didn't get to graduate from the group properly. Hopefully some day I'll get over the sadness of it all.
Ok, back to highlights:
-Taking up photography
-My new friend Sarah
-Seth and Michelle's wedding
-Hearing After Hour's new CD
-Doing my first engagement sessions
The last semester. Things got better this spring. I had an awesome experience in senior seminar. I got to work at an awesome photographer's studio for credit. I tried to move on from all the crap that had happened over the years.
-Shot my first wedding
-Had my Senior Thesis Exhibition
-Bought my wedding dress
-Thursday dinners with Sarah
So aside from a few papers and final things, I'm done with college. The experience was pretty mixed. I am very ready to be done, but at the same time I feel like I ran out of time... I didn't have the experience I intended, that's for sure. However, one of my faults has always been planning out how I wanted things to go that were outside my control. I think college would have been 100% better if I had started with an art major from the start, realized that you don't have to get drunk to drink enough to loosen up, and maybe worked on my social anxieties a bit harder.
Here is what I got out of college:
-A slip of paper saying I have a B.A. in Studio Arts.
-An amazing fiance
-A ton of knowledge about myself
-A bunch of neuroscience facts
-Some very good friends
So now I'm moving on... spending a summer in Colorado with Shea's family, getting married, moving to New Hampshire, starting a business. Starting a new life. So here's to that!