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My College Timeline

In case you missed it in the six thousand times I've mentioned this on my blog, I graduated from college this past Sunday. Done. Finito. Finished. It's a wonderful feeling, truly, just knowing that I don't have to sit through a class or take an exam ever again. College was a whirlwind, honestly. I don't remember half of it, not for illegal reasons, but because so much happened in such a short period of time and I'm not entirely sure how I was supposed to properly log all of it.

Based on my Instagram timeline, it looks like I went to a lot of Indians games, sat by myself at the pier a lot, drank a lot of coffee, and bought too many clothes. When I gather my thoughts about college, I'll make a post about all of the things I learned in college. But for now, I just want to reflect on my college experience through pictures...some more embarrassing than others.

I will admit, college was a slow burn experience for me. I didn't enjoy my freshmen year. I didn't really enjoy my sophomore year until the end either. It took me until my junior year to figure things out and find a solid friend group and come out of my shell. Better late than never, right?

This was my dorm on move in day in August of 2013. I was still in my somewhat preppy stage, with lots of Lilly, kelly green, and navy blue. I lived in a quad with three other people. I had a roommate who I wasn't wonderful friends with, a suite mate who was my best friend for the year and a half she was there, and another suite mate who was never there and went home every weekend. It wasn't my favorite living situation, but I was very excited that we had a huge room at least.

I had been to Colossal Cupcakes once with my mother when I went to Cleveland for orientation, but this was my first stop into what has become my favorite sweet spot in Cleveland. The cupcakes, as the name says, are huge. They're delicious. The shop is entirely pink. Could it get any better? You can always rely on a cupcake from Colossal to cheer you up.

This is a huge #TBT for multiple reasons. First, throwback to my 18th birthday when my mom, aunt, their friend and my uncle came to Cleveland to celebrate my birthday with me because I couldn't come. Second, throwback to when I used to make picture collages for Instagram. Third, throwback to my long hair. Damn.

A video posted by francesca gariano (@francescapauline) on

This next one had to be posted in this format because the music is the best part that goes along with it. We got a mini Christmas tree for our dorm freshmen year and this was my proudest moment as a college student. Sure, we had to search some weird things on school computers and sneakily print these out, but it was well worth it.

My mom and I spent a long weekend in Chicago with her friend in February of my freshmen year. This was from the top of the Sears/Willis Tower (I don't know what they like to call it anymore). I'm afraid of heights, but this was too gorgeous to pass up.

This was the time that my suite mates and I went to get french fries and milkshakes in our old prom dresses. Why, you  might ask? I wish I knew.

It took me over six months of living in downtown Cleveland to find out that this fountain exists.

Skipping to November of sophomore year to when I spontaneously saw Andrew McMahon at the House of Blues after my Spanish class got canceled and my classmate mentioned it and we were like...let's just go. So we did. And it was glorious, no surprise.

Not even a week later, I went on my first solo endeavor to New York City. I'd gone plenty of times before with family, but I took a bus by myself and met my uncle at the stop with my suitcase and tote. I stayed with my cousin in Queens and popped around the city by myself for about a week. I was blogging every day at this point, so this whole trip has been documented on this blog. It was just a really fun week that made me feel so independent and Grown Up™.

I'm including this because the cringy double mirror pick is hilarious and also because I remember this day so vividly! It was after winter break and I hadn't heard from the job that I wanted, so I embarked on a little hike to the store and introduced myself in person to the owner, who is now my boss. It was freezing and there was a lot of snow, but I wanted to make an impression and I think I did!

Another flashfoward from January 2015 to August 2015 because honestly, nothing but working happened between those times. I moved into my first apartment with three of my friends at the time (two of which are still in my life, thankfully)(don't let this go to your head, Olivia).

After the first week of classes, I saw One Direction for the second time (and hopefully not the last) with my friend Madi. It was glorious and scorching hot and just an all around good time. Who doesn't love some boyband action?

This is a fairly random picture to include, but that sweater is a Rag and Bone cardigan that I bought my second day of work at the consignment shoppe. I think two highlight points of my time in Cleveland are my two jobs and getting this one kind of changed everything for me in Ohio. So, this picture was taken at the end of my first week of working at the shop and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to work there.

I think the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever had to do was interview Mark from Kodaline. I didn't have to. I chose to and it was so much fun, but lord, was I nervous. I wrote a review on the show for a student newspaper on campus and got to see one of my favorite bands live. All in all, incredible night.

I had the pleasure of attending a fashion show in the fall of my junior year as well. I went partially for fun, partially because I needed something to do a school project on and this was the perfect event. The collection was gorgeous and it was put on by Valerie Mayen, who was on Project Runway and has the line Yellow Cakeshop in Cleveland.

Flash forward to spring break of junior year when I embarked on yet another week long trip to New York City. This time, I stayed in Chelsea and bopped around with my two friends Natasha and Bex (HEY GIRLS) and just had a lovely time and ate way too much. I also got my first Charlotte Tilbury products, which was also pretty huge.

I recently turned 21, which was fun. Here is me with my blood orange (IT'S F**KING RED) margarita, having a grand ole time.

And then I graduated!

It wasn't the moments I instagrammed that were standout moments to me. I didn't Instagram move nights with my roommates, running around downtown enjoying having the city as my campus. I didn't Instagram the best nights (I did Snapchat them though...thank God for that 24 hour story limit). I didn't document the best days at work or the weekly trips to Target. But that's the beauty of it, isn't it? I'll have those forever stored in my noggin for safe-keeping.

CSU, it was a fun three and a half years, but I look forward to enjoying my last six months in Ohio without schoolwork weighing me down.


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