This past year has gone by in a whirlwind of emotion and growth. I have looked forward to college for so long and it is, in all honesty, not what I expected. I thought that I would be a different person when I got to college but instead, I became a more raw and authentic version of myself. In becoming better at embodying my inner self, I found people who share similar experiences and made a friend group I wouldn’t trade for the world. While I value the things I have learned academically at the university, my time here has made me grateful beyond compare and taught me the importance of honesty in portraying one’s self. Part of this new understanding was taught to me in my society and culture anthropology course in my first semester of college. The class expanded my thoughts about and acceptance of the wide range of people and societies in the world and caused the more inner turmoil and contemplation than I have ever experienced in an academic setting.
As I look back on this year my favorite memory was a day I spent as an apprentice trip leader on an Everglades sea kayaking trip through the university’s Outdoor Adventure Center. The day was the most difficult paddling day of the trip as we had a long ways to go against the wind. As our group paddled and we were all quiet I found the physical stress overwhelming so I began to think about the people in my life. The hours I spent that day while paddling and thinking about the relationships I have made me realized how fortunate I am to have met the people in my life. This was indescribably impactful and once we stopped paddling I felt a peace I had not found in some time. We landed on a perfect white sand island and swam in the ocean water, went on a beach walk, ate fresh coconuts we found, had a great meal, and a fantastic group discussion at the end of the night. At the end of the day, we all cowboy camped, slept on the beach and not in the tent. We fell asleep to a bugless night with a clear sky that was full of stars and night pollution. This was one of the best days of my life and one I would live over again if I could.
The memories I have made this past year have made me more independent and excited about the future. I am looking forward to another year here at Ohio State and hopefully many more to come as a Buckeye. Next year I am specifically looking forward to taking the self-reflection I have made this year and implement it into my daily actions and growing deeper bonds with the friends I have made. I am so grateful and blessed to have lived the experiences that I have during my freshman year and the formation of acceptance that I am continuing to establish for myself. `