And just like that, my first year as a college student has come to an end. This year was a big deal for me. I moved away from Indiana, the place I have called home my entire life. I left behind family and friends and everything that was comfortable. I took the leap and achieved my childhood dream of “living in the city.” I’ve always viewed myself as someone who paved the path for myself as well as others. In my mind, Chicago was my ticket to becoming who I wanted to be and pushing me far beyond my limits and out of my comfort zone. I’m a firm believer in creating your own opportunities and this was the place and time in my life for me to start making those happen.
The transition was weirdly easier than I expected. I am not a fan of big life changes, so I was not anticipating for myself to have an easy time with this whole moving out and becoming an adult thing. The first week everyone kept telling me it would get better and it would become my new normal. Which was completely true, but honestly, I just felt like I was at some weird summer camp. I still felt like it was a short-term thing and I would be heading back home after maybe a few weeks. Within the first few weeks of classes I was now in full on tourist mode in my newfound home away from home. I went to the bean and The Art Institute and tried out all the trendy restaurants downtown that I could get discounts with my student ID. I was trying my best to find my way around and get to know the place. Thankfully, being a business major I get to be only a few blocks away from Michigan Avenue multiple times a week. And even in all the hustle and bustle of cars and the train there is a sense of peace. First semester was filled with lots of firsts. The first time taking the L, having to get an Uber to the airport, flying alone out of Midway and O’Hare, going to a Target that isn’t five minutes away from my house but rather a few stops south on the redline, and so many new foodie finds it’s ridiculous how much I ate. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was getting homesick. It felt like I was just counting down the days until I could be home again. The holidays came and went and by mid-January I was excited to come back, see my friends, and finish off the year on a strong note.
Second semester was amazing and so much better than I could have hoped. By this point I was settled into college life, I felt secure in the relationships I had made, and was eager to make more. A week after being back on campus I went through sorority recruitment and found a new love for all my sisters in Alpha Chi Omega. I have wanted to be part of a sorority for as long as I can remember. Having that sense of belonging and unity made me so excited to be part of a group of such real strong women that would help me grow in so many different areas. This year I also became part of CHAARG, a fitness club at dozens of colleges throughout the country. We get together once a week and do different workouts around the city. A huge advantage of living in Chicago is we get access to all the amazing (and not to mention expensive!!) fitness studios for free! My two favorites were Barry’s Bootcamp and Soul Cycle. Getting to know these girls has been a major highlight of my freshman year and so many cool memories. Spring and Easter breaks came and went but were very much needed. It was great to be home with family and just being around them again.
These last few weeks have been challenging mentally and physically. My first year in college at Loyola was one for the books. I am so proud of myself and everything I have done. I really put myself out there just like I had hoped I would. I am really excited to be in this place, with these people in my life. Although this year flew, and I know it will just keep getting faster, I can’t wait to come back next fall and do it all again.