Born 337: The Love Fortress
First, I begin with freshman year. Before college, I had few friends and I was terrified that college would be high school all over again. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In my first weeks, I met some of my best friends. It was love at first sight. From the instant we connected, I knew things would be different this time. My hurt was their hurt; their joy was my joy. They taught me how to love and how to be loved in return.
The Calcei House Porch:
Sophomore year, my freshman friend group gave birth to a house with the most absurd combination of residents, ranging from a chess enthusiast to a soccer player to a rodeo queen — just to name a few. My room was on the second floor but I could hear laughter echo all through the house. It felt like home.
That year, I gave myself permission to change. I broke up with my high school boyfriend and I joined the Voice, something I never thought I would do. I started dating non-men for the first time. I spent the weekends dancing with my friends, throwing themed parties and chain smoking cigarettes on the porch. I was thrilled by my classes. It was bliss. Until it wasn’t.
That year, I lost two friends to suicide and my depression grew from annoying to crippling. My friends began to drift away even as we were under the same roof. I felt completely and indescribably alone.
…and then came COVID-19.
On a walk:
Junior year, I became comfortable with my aloneness, not necessarily by choice. Despite the looming cloud of depression and constant pressure of the pandemic, I began to get to know myself for the first time. I began to pursue my passions that were unrelated to my aspirations. I started dancing by myself and listening to music, not to drown my thoughts, but to enjoy the sounds. In that time, I learned to give myself the room to feel and the grace to change.
Henderson B Stoop:
The fall of my final year began feeling much like my first. Everyone made the journey back to campus. So many questions, this time they felt more pressing, more serious, questions about the rest of our lives.
It was the year of lasts: the last time to see the trees change in the fall, the last first day of classes, the last Ohio winter (thank god), the last Covers, the list goes on. Now, as I sit in my last Voice layout, writing my last Viewpoint, I find that I have no regrets. My time here has been dominated by images of disco balls and long, honest talks laying on the floor with my best friend. While I admit I am terrified of whatever is to come and the last of my lasts inches closer and closer, I also find myself sitting on the cusp of many firsts. This time, I don’t know what those firsts will be but I think I’m ready. I hope I am.