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Breaking down semester number five

December 19, 2013
First day of fall semester

First day of fall semester

Every semester’s end becomes bittersweet for me. It’s a relief to be done with schoolwork for a few weeks, but in a small way, I will miss, for example, my biology class, as I will probably never again take a course in that subject. As I reflect on the fall that was and all that lie ahead, I think about everything I learned this semester, that wasn’t ecosystems related.

I learned how to prioritize my life better. I understand what activities bring me happiness, and I do them. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it because I shouldn’t waste time not being happy. I spent time with people I really care about, and I nurtured relationships that are important to me. I learned more about why I love the things I love, and I realized everything I have done in my life so far had a reason, even if it seems arbitrary.

I learned that as you get older and life gets busier, you will lose touch with people you really thought you wouldn’t lose touch with. That doesn’t mean the friendship meant less or didn’t mean anything, but you were in each other’s lives for a reason when you needed to be, and that reason doesn’t necessarily exist anymore. Sometimes realizing that sucks, but you’ll find your way back to each other if and when you’re supposed to, and the people who matter most will make time for you, and vice versa.

I learned having a support system of family, friends, professors and colleagues goes a long way, especially when the work is piling up and the stress is building. Not only will they do their best to help you however possible, but they will also encourage you when you’ve lost faith in yourself. There really are good people in the world.

I learned that sometimes people really do suck and are difficult to deal with, but that doesn’t give you any right to be rude and you can always learn something from them. Even if at times, you may want to punch them in the face, you don’t.

I spent more weekends than I care to admit inside doing homework rather than out experiencing things, but I learned that even those nights could be memorable. Deep conversations with your best friends are never a waste of a night.

I learned to appreciate people’s passions, no matter what they are, because everyone has a story, and I hope I gave some people the opportunity to share theirs. I enjoyed talking to students around the country and hearing their perspectives on the world, and I think I learned something with every article I wrote this semester. I can look at each one and say I had a reason for writing it and it was worth writing, and that’s all I could ask for.

Thank you to everyone who helped me learn these things this fall. Thank you to my support system of family, friends, professors and colleagues who make my home, school and work lives worth getting out of bed for. And perhaps most importantly this semester, thank you to my Italian classes, library pals, coworkers, other friends, family and basically anyone I came in contact with this December for putting up with me during the Jayhawk volleyball season. You are truly too good.

As Cicero (at least in Conspirata) would say, “The years sweep on us like leaves before a gale, and it cannot be helped,” and I am excited for the opportunities 2014 brings. Through all of my experiences, I figured out more about the life I want to live these next three semesters and post-college, and I better prepared myself to be ready to move on from KU in a year and a half.

I think that’s called growing up.

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