Can you believe it’s been a whole month since I posted on here? I’ll admit, my little hiatus got a bit too long. It felt really nice to not post 2-3 times a week. But, have to get back on on the wagon sometime, right? Since the beginning of the school year, I knew I wanted to review the entire year on my blog. Yesterday marks one year since I started at Penn State. So, it’s been a rollercoaster full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and complete back flips. So, let’s just go ahead and jump into the the good, the bad, and the positively ugly. I want to say a disclaimer that I’m being really honest with some of the crap I went through because I want you see that you can have what feels like a crappy year and still find the good in it.

First up, I’m not sure if I said this in previous posts, but I was in therapy. I’ve dealt with my fair share of crap throughout my life and I’m pretty sure when I went through that awful summer bridge to get into the Millennium Scholars Program, it bubbled to the top. Therefore, landing me in therapy. It’s definitely not a place I expected it to be. But, for the first time in my life, I felt I could talk absolutely freely without a conflict of interest, like my parents or friends. Sometimes, all you need is to talk to someone who will listen and knows utterly nothing about your life.

I’m not going to go into the horrors of what happened that summer (maybe I’m exaggerating but who knows). Just know being around 39 other people 25/8 really isn’t a good idea. I definitely learned more things than I needed to know, hated people for the littlest things, and got super close to a select few. Don’t worry, I don’t hate anyone anymore. It was simply because we were always together and the rules were really strict and if people did something stupid, we all paid the price. From what I recall, that didn’t happen too often, but some people were coming really close to getting found out. I’m not a snitch though because we all know what happens to them…

The real question is, why did I stay in therapy when the school year started? Well, I didn’t…at first. The beginning of the semester was a breeze. I had great professors, decent classes, a few activities, and an okay amount of friends. Can’t seem to pinpoint the exact time things started going left, but I presume it was the middle of the semester. I wasn’t really going out anymore and at Penn State, everyone did something on Friday night or the weekend. Going to my clubs wasn’t really happening. And, I felt more lonely than I had ever felt in my life. My friend count got really small and it’s no one’s fault but my own, I guess. Once I realized that I couldn’t really count on my friends back home to talk to, it got a thousand times worse.

I lost my best friend in a long, heated argument and I’ve known her practically my whole life. She was like a sister to me. No, she was my sister. I’m not going to talk about that because it would be messy of me, but I do miss her. That being said, life didn’t get much better after that. Sometimes it felt like the only person I could rely on was me. No disrespect to any of my friends, of course, but depression will make you feel that way. I haven’t been diagnosed with it (maybe because I haven’t been to a doctor about it), but I don’t know how else to describe what I was feeling. And, I won’t go into detail because it’s honestly really sad. So, I went to group therapy.

I must say, people don’t give enough credit to therapy. Most people, especially the black community, think it’s a sham. And maybe, to some degree, it is. But, it doesn’t change the fact that it feels really good for someone to have to listen to what you have to say. Group therapy allowed me to listen to what other people had to say and know that everyone is going through something and that there is no reason you have to go through it alone.

I had my fair share of breakdowns and anxiety attack after anxiety attack. But, I never really told anyone because it felt like the only person who could fix myself, was me. I was the one who was stressing about my future, hanging out in my dorm way too much, and talking to pretty much only two people. It got so bad, I considered quitting, just everything. They said college would be the best four years of your life, but where were my happy memories? Maybe I’m painting my entire year with a black brush, but for a large part of it, it was me, myself, and I. I did have maybe 3 people checking up on me outside of my family and I am grateful to those people and felt like I should acknowledge that.

Finally, we are getting to the good part. I thought, enough is enough. And excuse my language, but I said, “I’m done with this shit and I’m going to stop waiting for people to help me and fix my damn self.” So, I started going to the gym, eating healthy, meditating, and started appreciating the time I spent with myself. I came to love the little walks I took listening to music. Instead of thinking negatively about the future, I thought of what I wanted out of my future. I thought of how happy I wanted to be.

Remember the youtube channel I had? Yeah, I’ll be the first to admit that having one isn’t easy. There is so much that goes into it, you don’t even understand. But, long story short, it wasn’t for me. However, it did help me grow. It made having a blog so much easier. I feel I can say what I want and need to say now without hesitation. The 2018-2019 school year was all about growing and expanding my mind and I definitely did that. I learned so many new things about myself and gained so many new experiences.

Luckily, spring semester wasn’t as bad as fall semester. I got more out of my dorm and made a few more friends. I found out about so many new opportunities and was able to do a few cool things and have some planned for the fall. Thanks to God, I helped plan an awards show (ASHE Awards) and was a presenter. Traveled on an all-expenses paid trip to Texas (Five Amazing Food Places to Visit in Austin, Texas and Welcome to Austin, Texas Baby). Accepted the role of sitting on the Black Leadership Council as the liaison for my club and on the executive board of that club (WIRED In). Recently, got a scholarship to go to the Tapia Conference in San Diego, CA for a few days next semester. And, I also was accepted into a program to go to Australia for two weeks during Winter Break.

I feel like I should also mention that I ¬†got accepted into a summer research program at the University of Pittsburgh. Everything is paid for and I get a stipend. Typical of REU programs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) to do that. You should really look into it if you are STEM. I also made the Dean’s list. My point to all this is no matter what painful things you go through, there is always something good to counteract that. I went through hell and back with my issues. It got so bad at one point, I didn’t leave my bed for a day because I felt an emptiness I couldn’t even explain, so what was the point? But, I pushed through it for the next couple of weeks after it and went back to group therapy.

Listen, life will never be easy. I might continue to have relapses even when it seems like things are going good, but it’s up to me to pick myself back up. I feel like a big theme of this past year is that you need to love yourself. And, not just the good parts. You need to love the worst parts of yourself because it’s the only way you will ever feel complete. 2019 brought me back to the little girl pictured above. I remember being young, believing the best in people, hoping positively about the future, and loving the color pink. It might not be a lot, but I loved that little girl. Going into the fall semester, I want to carry those beautiful aspects of her and the growth I’ve had this past year. Hoping that your fall semester will be as awesome as mine. Love y’all.

Signing Off,
Zoeysxo