Reclamation (n): the process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right.
After a creative writing final, a geology final, and two political science finals, I’m done with my junior year of college! Wow, does life come at you fast!! It really just feels like a few days ago when I was doing SAT prep and stressing over applying to colleges in high school, and now the cycle is repeating itself as I set my sights onto getting into a law school by fall of 2018.
And I’m super conflicted on how I feel about this! On one hand, UC Riverside has exceeded my expectations for what I hoped to experience in college. I– like many freshmen coming into this school, let’s be real– was very unsure of what this university would have to offer me throughout my four years or how I could make my time truly worthwhile. But the great thing about this place is that opportunities feel possible and attainable. To me, for the first time, everything seemed worth trying or exploring– and because of that, UCR has turned me into the most ambitious and determined version of myself. Here I am, three years later, having been involved in student government, in a sorority, on the Panhellenic exec, in a cultural org, on the student conduct board, in three different departments for employment, in an internship, and in on-campus research– and I’m really proud of how much I put myself out there! And each of those opportunities wouldn’t have been as worthwhile without the lessons I learned in the experience before it– so while all of these weren’t super happy inspirational moments in my life, I’m grateful for all of them.
I’ve truly changed a lot! I’m a product of all the circumstances and interactions that brought me to this day. And that’s when the other shoe drops.
While I’m grateful to UCR of everything I’ve gained, I’m still not satisfied. Sure, it’s been better than expected– but if it’d managed to be this good, there’s no reason it cane be the absolute best right? I don’t want to leave this university without having taken advantage of every relevant opportunity left. That means studying abroad in D.C.– or maybe even Europe. That means making some meaningful relationships with faculty. That means boosting my GPA to the highest it can possibly can get, and it also means scoring as high as possible on the LSAT coming up. But along with all of that, that also means striving for a balance. Not just developing just my professional side, but having some fun here while this all lasts! My biggest, and perhaps only, regret throughout my college experience has been how firmly I’ve been all work and no play. And whenever I did play, it was due to the pushing and encouragement of my closest friends to come out and join them. Well now, all of them either just graduated or are leaving to study abroad for the next year– and while I’m proud of them, it makes me sad to think about how lonely I’m going to feel next year without them all around and how easy it’ll be to just want to stick to myself.
But without them, it’s time for me to proactively chase the experiences and opportunities I want in life, and that comes after accepting two universal truths about myself. First, it’s time to embrace who I inherently am– a school-minded hoe with a strict upbringing who has a slightly different definition of fun and happiness compared to those I’m around most. But second, that it’s also time to dare to break free of barriers (both my parents’ and my own) and explore diverse experiences– whether that be doing more traveling, going out of my way to meet new people, or being generally unafraid of change. I’m going to be 21 this upcoming school year, and that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to get more wild, rebellious, or lit– because honestly, I’ve come to realize that’s not really me. However, it does mean that by the end of this year, I hope to feel like the life I’m living is only for myself– not for anyone else’s happiness, not running through the motions of what’s expected of me, and not abandoning the little passions in life that excite me. Indeed, 2017-2018 is a year of reclamation and clarity. I’m not seeking all the answers to who I am as a person or to have life figured out by the end of this– but I hope that I actively try to experience everything once and end up in a place of great mental and spiritual growth. And if that ends up not being the case exactly one year from now, then well, I’m gonna have to deem senior year a #fail.
So to recap, I’m happy and I’m content– but I know that there’s still so much more to work on with myself. Everything I want to do, between law and writing, means nothing without exploring more of life first. So now I’m ready to go forth! Onto what I hope will be the best, hardest, most worth-it year ever.
That’s all I’ve got to say, and thank you so much for stopping by!