This semester messed me up.
I say that all the time, but my goal is to try and be authentic and genuine for this article. So, yes, this semester was absolutely awful for me. My mental health was consistently struggling and there were times when I simply couldn’t find my footing. Things weren’t grounded and I was thrown in an unpredictable loop I couldn’t have prepared myself for.
Four months later, I am so unbelievably proud of myself for making it through. I trudged through that thick mud until the end, and as I’m arriving at the finish line, I finally feel like I can properly breathe.
There were moments during this semester when I felt so isolated. I knew I had people who had my back, but in the end, this was my story to tell — not theirs. And I did my best with what I had.
That being said, I would not have made it this far if it weren’t for them. So for those who showed me kindness during a time I needed it most, who showed me they cared on so many more levels than just the surface — you know who you are. This article is for you.
I will remember your kindness. I will remember the times you helped build me up after someone or something else had broken me down.
I will remember that relief I felt when my friend said I could stay in her dorm for the night, just to sort through the millions of voices screaming in my head — the insecurities that wouldn’t quiet down, even though I was so, so tired.
I will remember crying my feelings out in the stairwell of the GSU to someone who offered me a world’s worth of support, even when I felt as if I didn’t deserve her.
I will remember that exhilarating adrenaline rush that hit me like a truck whenever I was on stage during my end-of-semester dance shows, feeling as if I were on top of the world.
I will remember video chatting with my parents and feeling so homesick I was almost tempted to end the call so these emotions wouldn’t get the chance to overwhelm me the way they were flooding my mind at that moment.
And I will remember those late nights, working at The Daily Free Press. I felt somewhat intimidated when I first walked into the office those months ago, but it has now become a safe space for me. It’s become that second home for me with people I’m so proud to call my friends.
When I fly home in just a few short days, it’ll be bittersweet. I want to leave most of this semester behind — the stress, the breakdowns and the exhaustion. But through it all, I was able to find pockets of light and create memories that are worth remembering.
To anyone who was by my side this semester, whether it be to crack a laugh out of me or to give me a much-needed embrace — I owe it all to you. I could have easily spiraled out of control, but you were my guiding lights, my beacons — simply because you existed.
Thank you does not even begin to encompass all the things I want to say. But for now, I can only promise to show you the same warmth and sympathy you’ve shown me during a time I needed it most.
I hope to carry a bit of your compassion with me wherever I go from now on. As I wrap up my second semester of junior year, it’ll be mixed with tears of pride, sadness and so many more complex emotions. I’ll leave it in the past, and I’ll box it up somewhere distant. But every now and then, I’ll open it back up — just so I am once again reminded of how much I have to be grateful for.
This chapter of my life was messy and confusing, but in the end, I got through it. I f*cking did it. Future me, I hope you’re proud. Because I sure am.