I am still having trouble grasping that I just finished my junior year of college despite the fact that I've been home for a week. I think in my head I will always be 16 and a sophomore in high school and honestly I could probably pass for one. I used to think college students seemed SO OLD and now here I am feeling identical to how I did in high school, maybe just a little bit more mature with better time management skills.
I distinctly remember move in day at Furman freshman year, moving the furniture around, nervously unpacking my stuff with things feeling a little tense as my parents and I neared the dreaded goodbye, and the door shutting as they left leaving me thinking so now what. Nell (my freshman roommate who is also one of my roommates for next year, fun how things come full circle) and I still laugh about those first pictures we have together in our room sitting an awkward distance away from each other on our beds with intensely straight posture and forced smiles. Now, we are more than comfortable telling each other that we want space or plopping onto the others bed without the slightest invitation to talk about life or vent. Growing up has its perks I guess.
As my roommate, Sophia, and I had one final roomie dinner before I came home for the semester we got to talking about how much we've changed since we started college and even how much we've grown up in this year alone. Junior year has definitely been my favorite at Furman so far despite the fact that I've taken my hardest courses and taken on roles that have challenged me during this time. Junior year was exactly what I needed after an exhausting sophomore year where Furman didn't feel quite as much like home. I've worked harder than any other years with my GPA reflecting that, I've socialized more attempting to remind myself to not let academic work always get in the way of college and through that I've met so many new people and made some unexpected friendships, and I've put myself out there in ways that I never would have imagined both challenging myself and growing as a person. This was the first year where I was genuinely not ready to come home for summer and that is a very good thing in my eyes. Sophia was talking about how she always felt like she had one specific lesson she learned each year but couldn't pin point what hers this year would be. That got me to think about what junior year has taught me and while that list is seemingly endless one thought continued to stick out to me.
As a perfectionist, I tend to also be a people pleaser. I am not a fan of conflict so I try to make sure that everyone is happy so as to avoid it. This may have been what wore me down sophomore year. I was so busy pleasing others and making sure their needs were met before I ever began to think about mine. That sounds a lot more admirable than it should. This year however, I learned that you definitely can't please everyone and that it is more important to be confident in who you are and what you are doing to please yourself instead. I don't mean this in a way that disregards other peoples feelings or needs but trying to please everyone else instead of yourself is exhausting and makes your needs seem less significant. Taking on the role of president of my sorority is where this realization stems from and I've begun to understand that in order to be the best leader I need to be confident in my decisions and who I am in order to best serve the needs of others. If you're in a sorority then you will be the first to know that the President definitely isn't always the most popular person in the chapter. They are forced to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the chapter and its members while still abiding by the rules of both the school and the organizations national standards. Knowing that not everyone is going to like me all of the time has helped me get over this need of pleasing everyone. I don't have to be well liked in order to be respected although that's a plus. At one of the conferences I attended this past semester a speaker told the attendees that "if you're pleasing everyone you're doing something wrong" and while in past years I would have disagreed with this statement, now I couldn't agree more. I've learned that I'll care more than just about everyone else and that is ok. Through junior year I've gained confidence and embraced responsibility two things that seem equally as important as what I've learned in classes. I've learned how to be a team player and motivate others while creating a vision of success that is attainable. However, I won't deny that a lot of this growth hasn't been hard. There have been many long nights, a decent bit of tears, frustration, and running on empty in addition to the weekend excursions, time spent with friends, and many great memories.
Other important life lessons of junior year:
It's never too late to make another best friend.
Getting off campus is crucial whether that be going for a drive or discovering an off campus workout you love, that time is valuable for sanity.
Don't let anyone try to define the person you are and if they do, prove them wrong.
Having your act together is seemingly intimidating even when you're positive you're the least intimidating person.
Your email inbox can dictate your day, don't always let it.
It's ok to be vulnerable and likely people will respect you for that.
Alone time is crucial (I am definitely an introvert!).
Coffee can only help you function for so long. Try to get some sleep. In the words of my big's senior will" "I leave you too much coffee, not enough sleep, and a surplus of sweets" if that says anything about my coffee to sleep ratio...
And now for the final Step Into My Week of junior year properly renamed Step Into The End Of My Semester since it has been a while since the last of these…
We left off with a fraternity formal on Tybee Island and an Easter Break spent at school. Sometimes I think that pictures of my planner would be a more realistic representation but here are the highlights:
I attended the South Eastern Panhellenic Conference in Atlanta to end March. Our panhellenic council, each chapter's panhellenic delegate, and the president of each chapter was invited to attend the leadership training. While this conference wasn't as beneficial to me as others I've attended it was so nice to get to know the other chapter presidents and members of panhellenic better since we collaborate a lot. I'm not sure if I've touched on this before but Nell is her chapter's president (tri delt) and it is so nice for us to be able to vent to each other and brainstorm solutions to issues with someone experiencing similar things. Additionally, Shannon just became our Panhellenic president so it is nice that we already have a good relationship as we will be working together in the coming year!
You can purchase the dress I am wearing here (on super sale). I've worn this so many different ways since originally purchasing it for a fraternity's homecoming function in the fall (and my friends have worn it multiple times as well!).
The following week was filled with countless assignments and daily visits to Barre 3. Not having a Barre 3 studio in my hometown has been one of the hardest parts of coming home for the summer!
I was invited to another fraternity formal which took place in Charleston in mid April which was so fun especially since my roommate Sophia and I got to hang out and explore together over the course of the weekend!
I wore this dress which was a great deal and perfect for the event. Another friend wore it to her sorority's formal and agreed that it was the perfect formal dress. For both of the fraternity formals I attended I wore these wedges and kept them on the entire night. As other girls began to ditch their heels while dancing I was perfectly comfortable and have gotten some great wear out of these wedges all year long (mine are the gold ones)!
The following Sunday was our chapters Senior Banquet which we hold at a local venue. At this we enjoy a nice meal, senior awards, senior superlatives, and our senior wills. I am definitely sad to see my big graduate as she has been my go to person here at school for advice and just about everything else!
The last week of school our Greek Life Advisor held our Greek Award Banquet. I was thrilled that our chapter received the Excellence in New Member Education Award as well as having two of our members receive the Emerging Leader Award and the Founders Award!
Then the semester began to wind down with the final weekend before finals involving Relay for Life on Friday night and both a fraternity function and KD formal on that Saturday. At Relay I had to participate in a president's challenge where I embarrassed myself in front of all the other attendees by getting an oreo from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands and eating powdered donuts faster than they should ever be consumed. Embarrassingly enough, I was one of 3 that moved on to the final round.
Saturday was an early morning with a hike to kick off the fraternity function I attended. After everyone was worn out from the hike we quickly changed into the proper attire for the cookout at the fraternity's house that afternoon. As if that wasn't enough for one day, that evening was KD Spring Formal. I could write a book from that function since as president I am in charge of making sure everything goes off without a hitch and the buses showing up 3 hours late made it not go so smoothly. In addition to other speed bumps at the function sadly I didn't really get many pictures with friends but fortunately everyone seemed to have a great time even if it was quite stressful on my end.
I found my dress for the function on sale but it is still available at full price in limited sizes here!
So there you have it, more than you probably ever wanted to know about my junior year! I'd love to know any lessons you may have learned this school year or if anything I learned particularly resonates with you!