Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Love Letter to College


Dear My Three and a Half Years at Cleveland State University,

COME BACK TO ME, DAMMIT. It's one of those situations where I knew it was time to move on, but I didn't realize it would be this hard or painful. I mean, I cried two times yesterday wishing I could go back. I think it's less about the education and more about the people I've met through said education, but still.

When I started college, I was an insanely shy and homesick seventeen-year-old living on her own for the first time ever. The longest I'd been from home was a little over a week when I went to Spain during my senior year of high school. I might have gone to New Jersey for a week when I was younger, but family was always with me. I was on my own on my own with no family in sight. I didn't have any friends at the school, any friends in Cleveland at all.

You learn how to fend for yourself very quickly when you know you're the only person you can count on. I couldn't lean on my parents to do things for me anymore. I had to cook (still debatable, honestly...does toasting a bagel count?), clean, do my laundry, finish my classwork, all while trying to find out what my "college experience" was going to look like.

I spent my first two years trying to figure everything out. Did I want to join organizations on campus? Did I want to put in extra effort into socializing when I knew I felt the most comfortable in my room or hidden somewhere downtown, secluding myself with just a book or notebook? Is that what I wanted my college experience to be? I struggled to focus on anything but academics for two years. Maybe that worked out in the long run, allowing me to finish a semester early, but I think for me, personally, I was missing a massive chunk of what I wanted moving away to school to be.

I found a friend during my freshmen year that, despite not being in my life now, introduced me to the people that are. On a whim, I moved in with her two friends to our first apartment and while things didn't work out the way that they should have, they worked out in a way that I think was ultimately better.

I found my true "college experience" junior year, a late bloomer in the typical context of how college is supposed to go. It didn't bother me though. I had finally found my hobbies and interests, I had two jobs that I loved, and I had people in my life that reminded me that I did not peak senior year of high school.

Despite the classes I've hated, the week long rain, the never ceasing wind tunnel of Euclid Avenue, that slight fishy smell from Lake Erie filling the air the second it gets slightly warm outside...I wouldn't change any of it. I enjoyed college for all it was worth. Even if I didn't love my program, I loved the people I met through it and the experiences I gained. I mean, there was a point where I was the managing editor, social media editor, and online editor for a student newspaper on campus, while also reporting for it. What? I used to swear that I didn't want any major responsibilities for anything and I spent my last semester of college doing #TheMost.

It was stressful, sure, but I learned so much from that experience. I can say that for most of my time at Cleveland State. Even if the class material didn't teach me, experiences from those classes, professors, classmates–whatever it was–gave me the lessons that I think I needed as time went on.

There's still a lot left to learn, but I know I'm starting off the next stage in my life in a good place. So, CSU, thanks for helping me grow instead of breaking me during that first semester when all I wanted to do was drop out. I did it, I made it!

Love,
Francesca

2 comments:

  1. I'm still having my nightly cry before bed!

    You know you love me
    xoxo Olivia

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    1. I prefer the nice mid-day cry after a emotional meltdown because your closet is not nearly as nice as your closet at your old apartment, but to each their own.

      I don't, but keep pretending,
      xoxo Francesca

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