Goodbye, Year 2

Why is it that after you finish running a remarkably long marathon, you realize it just…ends?

When I turned in my last final during the 7-10 p.m. slot last Wednesday, a part of me expected poppers and confetti as I walked out the classroom, and an audience applauding with hoots and cheers. Instead, I went to my favorite frozen yogurt store next to campus, ordered a huge size of my favorite flavor (blackberry with almonds) and munched on it as I made the trek home. Second year of college….over. I currently feel the emptiness — the baby letdown that always happens when something so wonderful comes to a close. But, I couldn’t be more thankful for this year of experience and growth. Here’s my recap:

Young Cosmopolite

If there was one thing I did right this year, it has to be this. YC changed my life, and I could not be happier. The day I launched the site, I remember feeling so liberated. I had been working on it since the very first weeks of the school year and just wanted to hit “publish.” YC has encouraged me to savor every minute and become comfortable with myself. It’s allowed my creativity to flourish! I had never experienced “work” not feeling like actual work until I started YC. Now I know that feeling exists. And besides YC’s purpose as an inventive outlet for me, I know whatever occupation I eventually take up, I want to love it so much that it doesn’t actually feel like work..

November 3, 2016: The Debut.

Berkeley, School, & Declaring

Classes, per usual, were the easiest and most predictable part of both semesters for me. That isn’t to say that the rigor was easy — it wasn’t — but I enjoyed heading to class everyday. I was blessed with a few truly impactful classes, as well as some impressive professors. From fall semester, I’d have to say Professor Poulomi Saha’s Literature of the Cities class was my favorite (we covered pieces from modern literature that took place in different urban centers and global cities) and from spring semester, Professor John Efron’s History of the Holocaust class took the cake. Both captivated me and truly opened my mind to new interests. I also declared my English major this year — which I was ecstatic about! And Berkeley continued to catch me off guard with it’s beauty — no surprise there.

The blooms were incredible this season!
Doe Library has to be one of my favorite spots.
I went to the farmers market almost every weekend.
Hiking with friends in the surrounding woods was a treasured activity.
My favorite time in Berkeley is when everything is bathed in golden light. This time, we were graced with a cotton candy sky too!
Never tire of the Campanile or this view of the Bay.
Declaring my English major!

Friends

To every single person who made an impact on me this year: this is a love letter to you. My second year at Cal brought me so many new friendships, and strengthened old ones. I have never felt more confident in the people around me and the relationships that have imprinted upon my life. Thank you for the talks that went on for hours, the motivational or silly text messages, the many meals and cups of coffee, the smiles, the laughs, the study sessions, the encouragement, the support. When I think of year 2, I’ll think of you. You made my life better. You made me better. And I can’t wait for future memories. These are some of you, though I was confined to whatever pictures I had in my phone. To all others, chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re one of them too. Thanks for everything this past year, and I love you.

My second semester roomie Elise — this was her first time at sweetgreen, and she loved it!
We got vegan Mexican food to toast our last night.
Sundays with Alex: we made a habit of going to SF Reality and grabbing brunch after this last semester.
On Easter, we both wore pink!
My gym buddy and Chi O’s chapter president, Lizzy!
My roommate from freshman year and one of my best friends Claire!
We studied together every Tuesday afternoon during second semester.
Hannah and I went to a meet-and-greet for Julia Engel…this was only the start of our friendship in the fall!
Elvis taught me about photography (I took this with his film camera!).
Jay, the dapper man on the other side of this bagel, and I were able to uphold our tradition of cooking a few meals together throughout the year and sampling some of SF’s finest.
From L: Clara, Kayla, and I went on several day trips to the city and the surrounding Bay.

Chi Omega

I haven’t mentioned this at all on YC for many reasons…the biggest of which is that there was a lot of chaos and confusion in the last few weeks regarding my sorority. To make it short and sweet, our chapter underwent some big leadership and member changes. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of women, but I’m happy to say we’re on the rise to rebuilding. In other news, this past fall gave me Anna, who’s my sweet and smart little!! (Anna, if you’re reading this, I love you!) I also was elected G.T.B. (Vice President) of my chapter and gained so many new friends with our newest group of actives. Chi O was a space for me to grow this year. And though there were days I really struggled to feel like I belonged or like I wanted to be a part of Chi O, I learned to value even these moments of questioning and uncertainty. My life and college experience wouldn’t be the same without Chi O, and I’m thankful for it for the difference it has made.

The new Executive Slate announced!
Everyone on Exec.
One of my jobs as VP is managing scholarship — like picking up this study basket from our Panhellenic Council during finals week.
I got a Little! So much love for you, Anna.
My sorority family, dubbed the “Sunflower Fam.” From L to R: me, Ana, Sophie, and Anna!

Miscellaneous

Some things can’t be contained to one box, but other big milestones or things that made a difference for me this year. In no particular order:

I voted for the first time!
I grew to love running, something I’ve hated for years! And just working out in general.
The fam came to visit me during Parents’ Weekend.
We all went to Death Valley during the winter.
And Boston during the spring.
I saw La La Land 3 times — the most I’ve ever seen a movie in theaters.

And I ate a lot of reallllyyyyy good food!

Time flies. Overall lesson learned from this year I think was, in the grand scheme of life, it’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle. Yet, it’s important to fight to stay awake, and alive, and not numb your senses to anything, even when it’s painful. Be present. Feel. Emote. Figure out what it’s going to take from you on a daily basis to feel invigorated. Don’t treat days like boxes ready to be checked. Go to campus, read in the library, meet a friend, study at a favorite coffee shop, go for a walk around the city — anything and everything to feel like the wide-eyed, bright bubbling youngster you once were before you got overwhelmed and jaded. Rediscover lost passions, and love the passions you have. Life is something to celebrate; don’t waste a minute.

A toast…To year 2!!!

XOXO,

-H

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