What just happened?

Four years ago I was in Blue Cross Arena, graduating from high school, determined to make the summer before college the best ever.

That September I was starting college, moving into Roble and starting my freshman year with 3 roommates, and a hall full of people far more over eager than anyone else at Stanford. I also joined an a cappella I was certain I would quit.

Three weeks ago, The Mendicants had their Spring Show and I performed for one last time.

Yesterday, I graduated college.

Today, I’m starting an adventure. There’s not really any other word for it. I’ve talked to many of my friends about how this trip has started and it’s true that it just snowballed away from me. A trip around the world was never something I had considered. The plan was Harvard Business. The new plan was Columbia’s Climate & Society Program. The “dream” as we called it was New York City. Instead I’m in a middle seat on a flight to Tokyo en route to Bangkok, Thailand.

Graduation week is filled with lots of emotions. There are hundreds of “This is the last time we ever…” and “Let’s do this thing I never did!”, but there is also a lot of time for reflection. For college application essays FIVE years ago I was asked to list the five words that describe me best. I think I said:
• Ambitious
• Competitive
• Independent
• Musical
• Zany

These are five words that certainly described me then, and for the most part they really do describe me now. But I’d like to add five words that I’ve added to the mix since then.

Addictive – It’s not like I wasn’t easily addictive before; I just embrace it now. I watch a lot of television and a lot of movies. Part of what I’ve learned to do at school is take meaning from the things that I get addicted to.

Opinionated – Again, certainly not new, but one that I’ve come to believe is not a bad thing. If we all shared the same opinion, life would start to get incredibly boring. I’m allowed to dislike that thing you all love (The Avengers, Mad Men, Guacamole). Yes, sometimes I say I’m allergic to mushrooms just so they are never near me and people don’t understand that mayonnaise is just fat and should never be on a burger. I’m opinionated. It’s fine.

Geeky – This is actually something I forgot about myself for four years. I was so happy to be a place where everyone was a geek in some ways. Maybe they were a fantasy baseball geek or perhaps it was for Jane Austen novels. I was surrounded by geeks and I was able to forget myself as one. Now, I must reclaim that moniker for myself, but I’ve realized it’s not bad to be geeky, in fact it’s incredibly fun. I’ll just have to start seeking out other geeks.

Supportive – This is the first word on this list that I never would have used years ago. In high school I had great friends, but we all did the same things so I had never had to go out of my way to be supportive. In college, my friends did a thousand different activities. I was so fortunate to find the world’s greatest group of friends. If anyone had an important soccer game or a big presentation, we showed up. And if anyone had a difficult breakup or just a bad day because of an awful class, we showed up. I’m also continually humbled that my friends and family have been so supportive of me throughout my four years. Thanks.

Adventurous – It’s become difficult to avoid. I’m definitely adventurous. If going to California for college wasn’t adventure enough, in the last 2 years I spent 6 weeks in China, 6 months in France, and then 3 weeks driving cross country alone. After each trip I’ve tried to take a moment and be thankful for all of the travels I’ve been lucky enough to do. I loved adventuring so much I started going on adventures in my daily life, taking risks, going to new places, and I’ve loved this philosophy so much that I’m not looking back.

So there you have it. It would really only make sense that with a new found sense of adventure that I would want to take one unfathomably big. For 6 months I’m going to be travelling around the globe, trying to figure out what it is I want to do with this crazy life I’ve had.

First stop: Bangkok with my twin sister Tori.

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