If you’re like me and take months to fully process the extremity of things, you’ll understand where I’m going with this. If you’re a perfectly functioning human with a god given spoonful of eagerness for the future–screw you.
I’m just kidding. We all have our things. My thing, however, is knowing that college is around the corner. When I first opened that acceptance letter, my heart sang a thousand tunes of 50 Cent’s “Birthday”. It was supposed to be a celebration, right? A big whoopy doo from the parents, a congratulatory wine evening with the friends, and a $25 Amazon gift card from Aunt Judy. It felt, however, that people were more excited than I was. I couldn’t complain–I got into my dream school in a beautiful town with a beautiful campus on a beautiful farm with beautiful goats, but man, why wasn’t I jumping for joy? Immediately after the celebratory dinner, I went straight to my room and had myself a little pity party, ironically blasting “Congratulations” by the one and only MGMT. Why was I so desperately trying to hide from this seemingly happy occasion? All I could hear was my mother’s voice in the back of my head, saying, “It’s ok to let yourself be sad.” Sure, it was a cheery line, something out of a romantic sitcom, but it had substance to it. So, here I was–sitting in the pitch black, binge eating popcorn and religiously repeating “Congratulations” until my head was consumed with catchy melodies and melancholic lyrics.
Fast forward to three months later. I’m walking home from school, following my usual route, when I pass by the local bakery. The bakery where, for the past seventeen years, I’ve bought my birthday cakes (always vanilla with chocolate frosting). Children are stuffing delicate madeleines into their small cheeks and pestering their parents for just one more cookie. And that, my friends, is where it hit me. Amidst the sweet smells and smelly children, I came to the conclusion that I was growing up. Literally moving on. No more madeleines or birthday cakes, but ten page term papers and a whole new set of expectations. I was leaving behind everything I was familiar with. I never thought I would be one to fear change. But here I was, drowning in an existential crisis that was the reality of college, listening to Elliott Smith and wondering if he felt the same way.
Fast forward to a month later. I have confirmed my decision to attend Hampshire College, filed all the hefty financial aid forms, and all in all, cannot wait to start a fresh slate. You may ask, what changed? Well, my friends, I merely accepted that life goes on. Carpe diem, seize the day. But really, my fear channeled into excitement. New opportunities, new friends. Ramen noodles and midterms and freedom and freedom. A change was an alien concept to me, but now I’m learning to embrace it and find a new, better version of myself for the years to come. As David Bowie said, “turn and face the strange”.
“Change” – David Bowie
“Never Let Me Go” – Rachel Portman
“Congratulations” – MGMT
“Sober Up” – AJR
“That Easy” – Yellow Days
“Like It the Way It Was” – The Emergency
Lilly Hershey-Webb is an aspiring film director and writer born and raised in NYC. She is slowly accepting the hefty student loans she will have to pay off after college.