Let’s rewind the time to August 2015. The first daughter, me, is going off to college 726 miles away. The car is packed. The engine is ready. The navigator has been placed in the windshield, and it’s time to go. We embark on a 10 hour journey to the first day of my future.
We arrive and there’s not a soul on campus BUT that was the point. I paid a little extra to move in a couple days early because I had so much stuff (I can tell you now that I completely over-packed).
After, three trips to target, two trips to Walmart, and endless trips up and down the elevator and about 8 hours of work my college dorm was finally complete (Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures because I was just too excited to take them.) That last night together, I went to dinner with my family, spent the night in the hotel, and that morning I said my see-you laters, gave my hugs, and kisses and there was that. I did NOT shed one tear. (I’ve never been a cryer. I was eager to start my new life.)
I vividly remember seeing everyone move-in on “Move-In” day and I am so THANKFUL that I moved in two days early and highly recommend others do it too. The campus is very chaotic at this time. Since the dorms were so busy and full of people I took the time to get to know my campus and figure where all my classes were. I wanted to ensure that I was well-prepared for my first day of college. By, the end of the day I knew where my classes were, where the teachers office were, and where all the food on campus was located. (I could have been a tour guide. And, to your right is the Student Center . . .haha)
I entered freshman year with a certain expectation for myself and any friends that I made along the way. First, and foremost I want ya’ll to know I came 726 miles by myself. I had no friends, no family, no sister, no brother, no organization, no anything. It’s like I was just dropped off and had to figure it out. Fortunately, I did not have to experience college alone. I was and still am a member of the gymnastics team on my campus. So, I automatically had people in my circle that somewhat had the same goals and aspirations that I did. Having this group was very helpful and beneficial BUT I wanted to have friends that weren’t like me. And by that I mean I wanted friends that were not or did not have an affiliation with sports on my campus. It was important for me to find a healthy balance between my athletic life and my social life.
The expectations I had for myself involved achieving goals academical, athletically, and socially:
- Academically: I wanted to maintain a 3.8 GPA or higher for my entire four-years. I was VERY naive to how hard college really was because high school was so easy for me. I was the student that could just listen to the teacher, understand what was going on, and make an A or B on the exam. However, I was taken aback very quickly in college when I received my first D. I learned very quickly this was not going to work in college. You MUST devote time to your assignments. ISSA MUST! There were long nights of crying, very long nights of crying, studying, all-nighters, and less than sub-par grades. What really worked in my favor and helped me bounce back were the resources provided both by the athletic department and the university. The university provides free tutoring, group sessions, supplement instruction (SI) sessions, and many other resources that sometimes I used more than those provided by the athletic department. I preferred the university resources over the athletic one’s simply because the university had more student guided sessions. These were students that had recently, with in the last couple years, sat in my very seat and took that very teacher so it was easier to understand the material. Ultimately, I recovered from my first D and managed to complete freshman year a 3.5 GPA overall. I did NOT accomplish my goal of a 3.8 GPA all four-years but I was very proud of my 3.5 and that’s all that matters!
- Athletically: Prior to arriving on campus, in July 2015, I had my second knee surgery; but, regardless of what I knew I would comeback better than ever just like the first surgery, in March 2013. My goal was to be a big fish in a little pond because that’s how it was at home. I wanted to be this competitive superstar that was a powerhouse. I wanted to be the person my coaches turned to whenever we were in a sticky situation. However, I was none of that. I never participated in a pressure set, never suited up in a competition leotard, never medal on an event, and sometimes could not travel. I can honestly say my freshman year athletic experience was soul crushing and a devastating blow to my confidence. I contemplated not returning and had very long conversations with my parents about moving back to Memphis. And – one day I looked myself in the mirror and said these very words aloud, ” You did not come this far to only come this far. You did not have this sport taken away to quit. This is an obstacle you must overcome. You will face it and take the challenge head on.” From that day forward, I never looked and never questioned my abilities. I made it my goal and mission to suit up in competitive leotard again.
- Socially: I wanted to be me. I’ve never cared much for fitting in, but I did want to find my niche. Gymnastics was my life and has always been my life so all the extras were always an after thought. I was not a party girl. I was not the most willing to step outside of my comfort zone. I was not the most willing to meet new people. However, once I find that group those people are my family. They become my world in a sense that I want to make sure that they know their loved and cared for by me. And, having this big heart often lead me to fake friends or fake love that did not genuinely care about me or for me but more so what I could do for them. Therefore, I did find my group of friends until the last couple months of freshman year. I found a group of people that forced me to grow. They challenged me. I learned more about myself in those last couple of months than I had learned all year. I met a group of women that were very different than I. They partied, they were loud, their personalities were always showing, and I loved it because I was none of that (at least thought). The more I hung with them the more I became like them or the more I morphed into my true self. I’m not sure which but regardless of what I think I changed for the better. I was more outgoing and willing to step outside of my comfort zone. I couldn’t be more thankful for that!
I know what ya’ll are thinking – WHAT ABOUT THE COLLEGE BOYS?! WHAT ABOUT FOOTBALL?! WHAT ABOUT BASKETBALL?!
Well. One of my goals was to not get seriously involved with anyone during my freshman year. I made this a goal because I wanted to get a solid foundation in both academics and athletics first.
Although, this was a goal let me tell you COLLEGE BOYS ARE MIGHTY FINE! They are a MARVELOUS creations. They know what to say SIS. They are also a DISTRACTION! However, some of best friends at school are male athletes because we relate or have quite a bit in common. I know ya’ll don’t want to hear that ya’ll want to hear the spicy and juicy stories. Well sorry there are none for freshman year. I was a bore and afraid. I was afraid of falling head over heals and throwing my morals out of the window. I attempted “talking” with some guys but that went nowhere because I wouldn’t allow it.
All in all, freshman year was one hell of experience. I had my ups and my downs. I gave ya’ll some snippets of my freshman year. As I grow and Livin’ Lavish grows I’ll refer back to stories from my college years that have truly shaped me.
I believe life is the best teacher and would love to hear what your goals were freshman year. Did you meet them? If so, how?
Livin’ Lavish: a mindset before a bank account