A huge first step

I signed a lease on a house today. That’s a big deal, and boy did I know it. In the past few days, I’ve been having a small commitment-phobe freak out. What if we waited and looked some more? What if there’s something cheaper? Or closer to campus? Or just better? … It’s a really good things I’m years away from even thinking about getting married.

Because the house is great. Great location, great space, great neighborhood, great price. Not to mention great roommates. And my short-term panic doesn’t diminish how incredibly excited I am about this transition in my life. Eight months from now I’ll be moving into my own place for the first time, and for the first time I’m living with people of my choosing. I absolutely cannot wait.

That’s amazing to me because a year ago this would have been terrifying. Working in residential life has great perks and I enjoy it, but another big reason for staying on campus was that the move out on my own was too scary. As a freshman, I couldn’t imagine living out of the residence hall, and even last year, the thought of cooking and cleaning and paying bills and completely taking care of myself was far too daunting to really consider.

But I’m at a point in my life now where that’s all really exciting. I love the idea of choosing my home all by myself. I can’t wait to cook for myself and my roommates. I can’t wait to be able to have people over to my place, instead of always going to theirs. I’m excited about collecting a mishmash of furniture that will suit our mishmash of interests and activities. I can’t wait to decorate our house to fit us – because it’s our place.

The fact that I’m excited about all of this, and not scared, speaks to how much I’ve changed in the past two years. I’m still the same person – I like the same things, I act the same way, I want to be around the same people – so this monumental shift isn’t something you’d notice from the outside. But it’s clear to me that my perspective on myself, my independence, my life and my future have completely altered.

Besides everything I’ve learned and gained in college so far, I’ve come a long way in my comfort with myself. I arrived at college not entirely sure of who I was, what I wanted or where I was going. Now all of those are crystal clear. I’ve experienced a confidence boost that lets me put myself on the line and be ok if things don’t work out. I know exactly what I want to do with my career and what I want out of life, and I’m past the point of someone being able to tell me otherwise.

In short, the cliche about finding yourself in college really has been true for me. I still have a semester left of undergrad, but at this point I can say that my college experience has been a gradual process of coming to terms with who I am as a person and what I want my future to bring. Every semester I’ve experienced new things, made new friends, and learned about myself. I’m at a point now where I am beyond excited to be my own person, and making my first payment on my first house is a huge first step in that direction.

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