I’m a firm believer in taking chances. Do what scares you. Do the unexpected.
I went to the University of Tampa for the first semester of my college career, and I quickly realized that I was going to have to come home. There was no way I could afford this amazing place on my own. So I did come home. I felt like I let myself down in a way, but now that I’m older I understand that sometimes short experiences like that are enough to change your life. So let me tell you about what happened to me in that semester.
I met this absolutely beautiful, reserved girl on the first day of my journey. We were placed in the same class that all freshmen were required to take and ended up in the same group. We grabbed lunch that day with the other girls in the group, and I started to feel like I could actually relax for the first time since I crossed the Florida state line. She didn’t say much to me until the next time we had the class together. She sat next to me and I’m pretty sure we were just being smart asses and saying stupid things to each other, but that was enough to spark a friendship. Julia, you changed the way I saw myself. I had always been too scared to be myself 24/7, but you taught me that I should embrace the weird because there is always someone else willing to be weird with me. We bonded over pizza and how we left so much behind in Indiana and Rhode Island. I didn’t think I could bond so much with a girl who was an entire foot taller than me, but hey things happen. You led me to the second person that changed me that semester. Emmi, you changed the way I saw other people. Your insane personality and actions showed me that you can do whatever you want while still being a great person at the end of the day. I think I became less judgmental when I met you. You never talked bad about people, I swear. You had nothing but nice things to say, and that taught me to stop being a bitch and give people a chance. I needed someone like you to come into my life to show me that judgement leads people nowhere. I have managed to make the most unique and unapologetically insane friends because of you. I also learned how to drive that semester, so you two were lucky enough to deal with me. I remember stopping on a median in the middle of an expressway because I would get so nervous, and you two would just laugh and say its okay, even though I knew you wished you were somewhere else.
I wasn’t exactly reserved when I was growing up, I was scared. Scared to be unique, scared to be honest, scared to be loud and proud. The honest truth is that I am unique, honest, loud, proud, and so much more. Leaving the comfort of my hometown showed me that anything can happen in the matter of a couple months and it could even change my life. I started taking chances and standing up for myself. It was the burning flame that I had been waiting for.
I left Tampa with two soulmates and a shit ton of memories. There does not have to be a specific event that changes your life, it can be people as well. I learned that your best friends don’t have to live in your hometown or be 5 minutes away, they are allowed to be 500 or even 1000 miles away.
Ju and Em, thanks for showing me who I really am.