As I have come to learn over the past four years, not everyone has the typical college experience.
During my junior year at Kent State I had what some would call, as humiliating as it is to admit, a complete breakdown. Due to multiple issues including a bad breakup, a complete lack of motivation for what I was doing in school, the new and exciting world of turning 21 and the downside of not knowing how to handle my alcohol intake, along with other factors, I became entirely lost.
I am aware that everyone gets into ruts from time to time, but for some reason I dug myself deeper into a hole by handling my issues with drinking more (along with that came a DUI and putting on 15 pounds), basically stalking my ex and not giving a crap about my grades in school. It was the toughest semester of my life, and after receiving grades that I don’t even want to confess, I knew it was time to make a change.
This was last May. Around this time I knew I needed positive change in my life but the aspect of change is much easier said than done. So, for months I just went on with a day-to-day routine where I felt as though I was just going through the movements, hoping one day that everything would just fall back into place.
I vividly remember the moment when things finally hit me and I got a general idea of where I wanted to go and what I had to do to get there. It was the beginning of August and I had to go to my advisor to schedule my classes for the next semester, which was supposed to be my senior year. Mind you, at this point in my college career I had changed my major twice and was on the path to God-knows-where.
I remember sitting in my guidance appointment, listening to my counselor tell me how behind I was thanks to my previous spring semester and telling me the classes I had to take in order to make up for my lack of effort. I decided right then and there that Kent was not where I wanted to be spending my senior year and most likely my super senior year.
I went straight to the journalism building (my favorite place on campus), and wrote down a list of things I wanted. Instead of just thinking of ideas in my head about the person I wanted to become and the goals I wanted to achieve, I put them onto paper. The first thing I knew was that I needed to take a semester off. I absolutely had to dedicate four to five months to moving on from my past and focusing completely on myself, along with my family and living a healthy lifestyle.
Another thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to go back to school, in time. There was no way I was letting seven months change the course of the rest of my life. Although I was twenty one at this point, and I was obviously a little late in the game, I figured it would be better late than never to do what I had wanted to do since I was a senior in high school: go to Ohio University.
Since my sophomore year of high school, I undoubtedly knew that OU was where I wanted to be for the four years following my high school graduation. By the time I was a senior, I had everything set up to attend OU. I was accepted, received scholarships and had the looks of a promising future that I had always wanted. I had a roommate set up, along with a meal plan and a class schedule.
But low and behold, at that point in my life I had a boyfriend, who was a year older than me and attended Kent State. It was pretty obvious that if I attended OU, our breakup was inevitable. Putting the relationship in front of my own dreams and goals, I decided three weeks before going away to Athens that NEVERMIND, I’m staying in Kent.
Fast forward to three years later and I was in a situation in which I had never expected to be. I was miserable and sitting in front of a computer, rebuilding my entire life.
I went straight home, and asked my mom’s opinion on my plan. Instead of the reaction I expected (her telling me no and that I was crazy and impulsive) she had the biggest smile on her face. She told me how proud she was of me and to get online immediately to reapply for OU.
An hour later, my application was sent in and my mom had plans to call Kent on Monday to tell them I would be needing my transcripts because I would be transferring to OU in the 2016 spring semester.
I was in disbelief. It wasn’t real. I was going to get five months to put the past in the past, make some extra money and begin the process of getting myself into great shape, not only with exercise and a healthy diet, but with a clear mindset and having something to look forward to. I was going to be getting exactly what I needed in order to reconstruct my life and I couldn’t have been more thankful or excited.
When I went to Kent, I jumped from major to major because I was 18/19 years old and I am not one of those rare people who could choose exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives coming right out of high school. I knew that when I would go to OU in a few months I needed to have a set plan of what major I wanted to pursue in order to achieve a career I would not only excel at but love.
It was pretty obvious and I don’t know why I had never thought to go through the journalism program at Kent. First off, I have been a natural born writer since I could remember. Secondly, the Scripps program at OU is nationally accredited and it would be an honor to be part of something so renowned. I had a plan!
In September, I made a visit to OU and met with the head of the journalism department. He laid out a plan for me in order to graduate in a reasonable amount of time and made my plan seemingly come to life. This was the first time I felt 100% sure about something I was doing in probably over a year, and it was such an amazing feeling.
Although I will not follow the general track of graduating in four years and obtaining a career by the age I’m at now (22), it’s O.K. I have come to realize that people live their lives differently, and it’s O.K to not be on the path most traveled.
It is now March and I am officially a student at OU. I am not in the journalism program yet, but I plan on applying in the fall. I already have a great sense of feeling at home on the OU campus and I can’t wait to be here for another two years.
Although the transition is not cake, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I can’t say enough great things about Ohio University, and looking back I could not be any more grateful for the hurdles I had to jump over to get here. I have high hopes for myself, and even though I know it won’t always be smooth sailing, my past experiences have taught me to take things day-by-day and just live in the moment.
For this moment I am unbelievably grateful and the happiest I have been in a long time. I owe my joy not only to this amazing place I can finally call home, but to myself and to one of the biggest meltdowns of 2015. Putting your positive thoughts into actions can be exceptionally rewarding, and my journey to OU is proof of that.
So here is my first shout out thanking OU for taking me in and giving me a brighter and more optimistic outlook on life. No offense Kent State Flashes, but you’ve got nothing on the Bobcats.