COLUMN: Embracing change over the past four years

My first day at DePaul, I sat at my desk underneath my lofted bed in my dorm, staring at the wall. My family had just left after a long day of moving in and both of my roommates were out having fun elsewhere. For the first time in my life, I was on my own.

Unsure of my next move, I texted the group chat made up of my high school friends “my family just left, what do I do now?”

A mix of exhaustion from the move (as exhausted as you can be moving from the Western suburbs) and crippling anxiety kept me in that chair for much of the afternoon, but I eventually got sick of myself and decided to head out for a walk, taking in what would be my home for the next four years.

As I circled around DePaul’s compact Lincoln Park campus, I began to wonder which locations would end up mattering the most to me, who I would meet and how I would change. I had no idea where the next four years would take me, but I remember hoping that I would either see only improvements or no changes at all.

The writer on her freshman move-in day.. (Provided by Emma Oxnevad)

At the end of my college career, I can’t help but find that sentiment ridiculous. Throughout my time at DePaul, I have experienced falling outs with old friends, heartbreak, loss and — like all of us — the unexpected end of a traditional education due to Covid-19.

My life now is almost entirely different from when I started at DePaul, from where I live to the issues that keep me up at night. It’s hard to notice change whilst living through it, but in hindsight, it’s staggering.

I couldn’t have predicted the hardships — both personal and global — that occurred over the past four years. But I also couldn’t have predicted the joy I’ve experienced.

While at DePaul, I met my best friend, developed skills for my chosen field and found a community within the walls of The DePaulia newsroom. I embarrassed myself every now and then, but I can’t say I have very many regrets, aside from lamenting the loss of the last year and a half to the pandemic.

I couldn’t have predicted the hardships — both personal and global — that occurred over the past four years. But I also couldn’t have predicted the joy I’ve experienced.”

I never know when it’s time to leave; I’m often the last one at the party long after it dies because I don’t want to miss out or shortchange my experience. But I know my time at DePaul is up and I now have to transition into the proverbial real world, without the safety blanket of college.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. At the time of publication, I don’t have a post-graduate job lined up or really any idea where my life will be in one year. But if the last four years have taught me anything, it’s that change is not only inevitable, but often necessary.

I am of course going to miss the freedom of college — the kind of freedom that happens when you don’t have to find a job — but I also know that longing for the past prevents one from living their future. It’s time to go, and I’m doing so with my head held high, cautiously optimistic for what’s to come.

I’m not sure what post-graduate life will hold for me, but I do know I am never again going to be the girl in the dorm, staring at the wall because she doesn’t know her next move. Instead, I’ll head outside and see what is out there for me.