sophomore year, a permanent rain–cloud
i finished my last online exam for the
semester, turned in the last essay for the year, closed my canvas account for the last time in the first half of my college experience. for a long time, i considered getting into penn to be the best thing that could have happened to me. it became the central factor of my achievements, stuff like essays for AP classes and passion projects melted into stepping stones to end up there. and maybe that’s true, maybe no matter what happens to me from now on it will not carry the same ring that an ivy league degree harbors.
but, sitting in the bedroom i became myself in when i was sixteen, i shut my laptop and thought about why i wasn’t nostalgic or melancholic over the end of this year. the truth is, i was miserable for most of these months. it was as if i became sad one day and let it bleed into weeks on our common space couch, months spent with my dorm room shut hoping my roommates wouldn’t walk in and see me crying again. it was a running joke—i even branded my private facebook events with the theme of me sobbing my eyes out, had a snap story dedicated to tear–stricken selfies.
i was miserable and i knew exactly why: i hated myself. what an odd feeling it is, to simultaneously believe you are at your peak and your chasm. i wasn’t quite having the stylized grained 90s coming of age films i watched in my childhood bedroom. i no longer had the image of myself i curated in high school because i outgrew it the way i did my Forever 21 floral dresses. instead, i was obsessed with branding myself through a niche music taste or my English/Premed education path. i wanted nothing more than to make everyone i meet fall in love with me because i hated the fact that i could not do anything for myself, i could not go to the library or read because i wanted to but rather because i wanted to be the type of person to do those things. and i stopped writing, because i no longer had anything original to say.
i don’t have the results photo for this transformation yet, i don’t think. but i’m slowly trying less to rebrand myself and more of figuring out what makes me up already. i let myself take longer pauses alone, made new playlists with music i actually like, counted all the things i did accomplish while under my long term rain cloud and stopped keeping snapchat streaks with people who probably couldn’t tell me one thing interesting about either of us. i made new best friends and have deepened the relationships with the ones who carried me through sophomore fall, when i spent more time staring at the wall than anything else. i’m trying to let go of
all the pieces of other people i have collected because i stopped making room for myself. and it’s hard, an archive of two years collects a lot of dust.
i’m not really sure where i’m going with this, because i still bite my nails until they bleed and i still haven’t finished the Faulkner book i started two weeks ago, but i’m finally moving on from perpetuating my own permanent heartbreak, i think.