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Starting Fresh: Making the Most of My Final Year

Hello Readers!

It's officially the beginning of the end for my chapter at Penn State and I am already feeling the difference.

So funny how our perception of milestones makes the mundane more intriguing, as my nostalgia notices every action acutely. Though nostalgia can be equally as interesting as it is saddening.

But, today on this sunny, mildly humid afternoon, I sit a little too prepared for class as I unknowingly got up and ready a full 2 hours before I even needed to leave the house. So, no better time than the present, to talk about the joys and challenges of starting new "milestone" chapters.

I think for every other year I've been here there was an indescribable feeling of discomfort upon my initial days of the year. More so my first year than now, but still I always find a few nerves when starting NEW. Even if not completely.

I, like everyone, love my routine. Getting up the same time, doing my hair the same way, walking down the same streets, it has a level romance to it. As if living by muscle memory is an old friend whose presence needs no introduction. And routines do allow you to move through life with a bit less thought while also seeing first hand the development born from time's hand. And there are so many aspects of that which are beautiful.

Yet, I also think there are aspects of this that can be constricting too.

Going through the motions can keep us subconsciously bound to our habits, and to some extent, dilute our self-awareness as we stop questioning our actions. This effect can also apply to our experiences and company we keep, when nights out and social circles can standardize our expectations so much so that we find ourselves lacking the sense of surprise that keeps days fresh.

And this is why I think starting fresh, even if just new classmates or bedroom decor, can feel so refreshing after being immersed in another so long.

And I think that these new milestones can be equally as nerve racking as revitalizing.

You'll find the beginning of one of these new stages to look a lot like the beginning of a Netflix show. One where the beginning days and weeks first fill the "exposition" space as you adjust to what the new normal looks like. You meet new characters, are more open to new experiences, and can recast yourself however you want. And the benefit of this is that these opportunities allow you to get to know others as your evolved self without fear of comparison to who you once were. And as well, getting to know others is also important in expanding our context of the world we live in, as you get to learn about how their experiences in life compare to yours.

Conversely, in the same breathe, stepping into a new stage can also induce some anxieties. Getting taken out of your "normal" forces you to confront a lot of forces, as you find that new doesn't always equate to 'good'. You'll find yourself in awkward or uncomfortable situations that can sometimes taint your outlook on the positive benefits of development. But you will learn A LOT. About yourself, about others you connect with, and about your longterm path in this new mix of marbles. So in the end you'll look back to see how a little butterflies were worth it.

Like most things in life the question is neither black or white, but rather a smoke tinted grey. And though I love Ben Franklin's famous quote, "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." I would argue that nothing is more certain in life than change.

And it's up to us to take the good with the bad, and find the fun underlies it all.

Here's to starting strong in face of it all.

Until next time.

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