Written by Paige Lunde. Media by Rachel Koehnemann.
Change happens every day, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Maybe these are not huge changes but small, tiny ones that not many people notice at first. Without really realizing it’s happening, you can wake up one day and be a completely different person from who you were in high school. I am extremely grateful for the 470 days I have had to change myself since I walked out of my high school gymnasium with a diploma in my hand and four very short, bittersweet years behind me.
I used to be the type that would sit in the back of the classroom and pray that the teacher wouldn’t call on me, even if I knew the answer. My face would burn red and, sometimes, I would stammer. I never liked the attention. I waited for people to come up to me to talk and I never really went out anywhere unless I knew for sure that someone I knew would be there. I spent my four years of high school with a couple close friends and a lot of nights sitting at home with a book. I didn’t mind that as it was comfortable and familiar to me. But then high school ended and college began.
The scary part about going to college was the fact that I literally knew no one here. I was on my own– no one was familiar here. The first week and a half, I stayed in my room and only left for classes. I preferred quiet solitude over uncomfortable first impressions. Then, out of nowhere, this tiny, very loud, very opinionated human sat next to me in Core one morning. Ever since then, it hasn’t been the same. My life became uncomfortable and unfamiliar and yet, I don’t regret it one bit. I started going out more and getting comfortable with a large group of friends. I found comfort in people who were nothing like me and have different opinions and ideas.
When I was in high school, I was just the girl sitting in the back of the room who only went to basketball games because I had to record them for the coach. I tended to stick to things where I knew what was going to happen and where I would be able to have some control. Now, I’m going to soccer games and recitals just because they sound fun; I’m going up to people where before I would’ve been so nervous to approach that my hands would shake. My face doesn’t flush all red in class and I don’t stammer when I’m called on. I have had 470 days to change and I have loved each and every one of them simply because of the people in my life now that have helped in subtle ways.
So, my advice for anyone who is even slightly feels or felt the same way is to not be afraid of change. Change is good. It’s healthy for you. When the loud, opinionated person sits next to you in class, talk to them and when the funny red-headed boy asks you out, don’t be afraid to say yes. Go to the soccer games and the football games, to the recitals and the improv shows, become friends with the education major and the music major. I promise you will not regret them one bit. Don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone, be a different you than the high school you. Just have fun because these are some of the moments that you will remember when you’re 80 years old sitting on your front porch in a rocking chair. I promise you will remember these moments with a smile on your face.