To be honest, coming back to Jewell has been really, really hard. When I left in August, I felt confident in my return. Surely nothing would change; it was Jewell, of all places. Before leaving, I would bemoan how things were always the same, itching to get away from the Hill. However, being away for so long made returning difficult.
Time is very tricky. While five months may not seem like a long time, a lot can happen. When I was in New York, different pieces of my life slowly (and also not so slowly) shifted or went missing completely. I’m not saying that every moment of my time in New York was a time filled with dread and doom because that is wholly inaccurate. Change can be amazing. At NYU I made new friends, learned new things and pushed myself harder than I ever had before. Working at the Metropolitan Opera was a literal dream come true. As a kid I would pretend I was onstage at the Met singing for thousands of people. Actually standing onstage was like nothing I had ever experienced.
Still, being in the City had its downsides. I couldn’t see my family. I couldn’t be there for my mother when my grandmother passed away. I couldn’t see my friends. I couldn’t accurately let them know that I was lonely. Do not be fooled; you can be alone in a city where you are constantly surrounded by people.
I appreciated and loved my time in New York, but when I left, I was happy to go. I had written a new chapter, but that chapter was over.
Driving from Tulsa to Liberty, I felt anxious. Coming back meant being thrown into my old life without the same support system as before. There was choir retreat, which normally felt like a breeze, but I didn’t know any of the music or the new members. At the same time, sorority recruitment work was underway. On top of this, I was really, really sick. All of these things made the transition harder. Every day I reminded myself that, although some things had changed, I still had a great support system; I just needed to lean on them for a while. I had the incredible Sassy Fam in ZTA, I had my friends in choir and I had my amazing roommate, all of whom were kind and held me up through my first week back.
I reached out. I asked for help. I pushed myself, but not past what I could actually handle.
There are days I do not want to be at Jewell. I would like to think that all of us have days where we do not want to be at Jewell. College is like that.
Change can suck and change can be awesome. Ultimately, whether we like it or not, people change. Relationships change. Life changes. If we didn’t change, life would be boring. So maybe leaving for a semester or a year or a summer means that your Jewell bubble is popped and you come back to a different atmosphere. Sure, you could sit and wallow in regret about the past, but you have the opportunity to get up and fight every day to be better. That’s my goal, at least: to stop being and start becoming.