One night in March of my junior year of high school, my friends and I skipped out on going to our school’s annual charity dance (also known as our school’s annual mini rave/make-out-fest) and instead decided to stay in, order a pizza, and watch some television. Upon arriving at my friend Allison’s house, we quickly turned on the one show the three of us loved to pieces- Jeopardy.
For weeks now, I have been looking forward to this moment. I am sitting in the window seat on my train home to Pennsylvania, listening to Allen stone, and doing one of my favorite things in the world: writing. Most people would think of a 7-hour trip home as exhausting and boring, but for me, these next 7 hours are going to be extremely therapeutic.
During my past month and a half at William and Mary, I haven’t had much time to write. Any free minute I got was spent either catching up on Dancing with the Stars or playing Heads Up with my hallmates, and I wasn’t able to dedicate a solid chunk of time to writing. I’m happy I was present in those moments, but holy moly, I really missed the feeling of spilling my heart out via keyboard.
While I’d love to outline all the crazy, amazing experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’d rather save those stories for my in-person interactions with everyone from home. The one point I want to focus this post on is a theme that has been really prevalent in my past few weeks, and one that has made me have a bit of a paradigm shift: There isn’t enough time in college to mull over your emotions, and I can’t tell if that’s super healthy or super unhealthy.
A few weeks ago I saw someone post a poll on their Instagram story that said “does the summer in between high school and college feel weird?” I honestly don’t remember what the results of the poll were, but I remember feeling an immense sense of relief in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of uneasiness about this chapter of life we incoming freshmen are experiencing.
How did I decide where to go to college? Good question- I don’t really know. I mean, I do know, but I don’t know how to tangibly explain it. So I suppose I’ll start from the beginning and hope that a somewhat comprehensible answer will come about.
There’s a song called “This Will Be My Year” by Train. It’s about having hope that the upcoming year will be the year that changes everything for the better. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, explains through song that even after many failed attempts, he still has hope every new year. By the end of the song, Monahan realizes that every year has its own struggles, but with his wife by his side, he can tackle the challenges the years ahead will inevitably throw his way.
Coming into 2018, I was struggling a lot. I was in the midst of my accutane cycle, and even though my skin was slowly starting to get better, I was extremely insecure about it. I was also getting over a really tough breakup. My foot was still injured, so couldn’t run to cope with these struggles, and that was the cherry on top of the very crappy pie. I didn’t have much hope for 2018 because 2017 kicked my butt that badly. All I wanted was a year of healing, but I didn’t think it was possible.
Luckily, 2018 was my year. It was far from perfect, and I definitely didn’t meet my future spouse like the Train singer did, but it was the most transformative year of my life thus far.
The weather today was absolutely disgusting. High 30s and cloudy. I’ve always wondered why hell is fiery because an ice-cold atmosphere seems much worse to me than any level of heat. Anyways, as I was raking the leaves in my front yard, I pondered the same things I’ve been pondering on a daily basis the last few weeks. Why is the cold so much harder for me to handle than the heat? Why does the sun have to set so damn early these next few months? Are there places where the sun doesn’t set this early? Would I be happier living somewhere warmer? Would I want to give up the pretty fall colors and the cozy snow days to live somewhere where I’m not constantly freezing from November to March? Why am I so much sadder in the winter than in the summer?
For as long as I could remember, the first few weeks of school have been full of pure anxiety. Every year I have an unshakable fear that I’m going to fail all my classes and that I’m not going to have anyone to talk to. Every year, I end up proving myself wrong. My grades end up perfectly fine, and I make some friends in each class. Still, this fear haunts me every time a new school year starts.
When I think back to the past school year, the most stressful time period was not AP exam season, or finals season, or even cross country season. It was prom season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the way my prom turned out for the most part. Still, I get so stressed thinking about how much energy I put into finding an inexpensive dress, figuring out the transportation situation, and making sure my hair and makeup appointments didn’t overlap. All of the drama that came with these conflicts made me so anxious, and at some points I just wished we never even had a prom.
Accutane. First of all, I took that stupid pill for 9 months, and I still don’t know how to spell the name without googling it. But, I digress.
For those who don’t know, Accutane (medically known as Isotretinoin) is a retinoid medication that treats severe acne. It’s for people who have had little or no success with topical or antibiotic treatments. It’s basically a last resort for acne sufferers since it is known for having really intense side effects.
For months, I imagined what it would feel like to write this post. I thought I would feel a sense of victory and relief. In some ways I do, but I’ve only been off it for a few weeks, and I still have an unshakable worry that the acne will come back. Still, I couldn’t resist making this post. People always ask me if I think this pill is worth it, and I figured I’d save myself some breath by making this post. Obviously, everybody responds to the medication differently, but I hope more than anything that my story can give some clarity to anyone considering taking this medication. I know already that I’m going to jump around a bunch, but I want this to be as raw and honest as possible. So here we go…my accutane story…
For months in my AP Euro class this year, we talked about Versailles. For those who don’t know, Versailles was a residence created by Divine Right Absolutist Louis XIV when he ruled France in the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s basically a palace outside of Paris that was created to restrict the nobility’s power by making them come to him instead of the other way around. It’s gorgeous. It’s one of the many places I was lucky enough to go to this past summer on my trip to Europe with my family.
Let me start by saying this was not my best summer. My love life was all over the place, I spent hours all day doing SAT prep and summer work, and I was just overall miserable. When my family told me we were going to Europe, I was excited but apprehensive because I HATE being away from home. Nevertheless, I boarded the plane that mid-July night wanting to give this trip a chance. I loved the Netherlands and Belgium because we adventured around with my dad’s friend’s family. However, they didn’t come to France with us. My parents and I were left alone exploring all of France, a “problem” that many people would love to face. I, on the other hand, didn’t love this problem. I felt frustrated that my three years of French couldn’t help me figure out this brand new city. My parents were thrilled and loved the sense of adventure, but all I wanted to do was curl up in our tiny hotel room and cry. I blame this on my ungrateful teenage mindset. All I wanted was to go home and pet my best friend’s dog, hang out with the guy I was flirting with, sleep in my own bed, catch up on Netflix-basically just resume my regular teenage activity. I just wanted home! I didn’t bother to read up on the history of any of the places we visited. We only really learned vocabulary and grammar in French class, so the history of these landmarks was pretty hazy to me. I dragged myself through all the museums, taking all the artsy pictures I could, occasionally stopping to read about the painting I was looking at. I was in the historic Louvre, and all I wanted to do was go home! Now, looking back, I’m so ashamed.