The first day I moved onto campus and UCI became my new home, the campus seemed so huge and I was literally just one of thousands of freshman on a giant campus. When I moved into Middle Earth’s Isengard, I was terrified and dangerously underweight at scarcely 88 pounds.
After representing the epitome of freshman, including asking everyone where I could find HIB, I finally learned my way around and UCI didn’t seem so big anymore. I wasn’t so scared and living with 40-plus people became a comforting alternative to living with my mom and dad. By winter quarter, I thankfully gained the ever-popular Freshman Fifteen I so desperately needed.
Although at the close of my freshman year, several of my dorm mates made plans to live together the following year, I was not one of those people. Instead I was the odd girl out with nowhere to go and no one to live with.
Each summer I found myself in the housing office on campus flipping through pages and pages of people seeking roommates.
Every new apartment proved to be a trying experience where home never really felt like home. However, in my final IAC apartment of my undergraduate career, my apartment is finally a place I can retreat to after a long day. I can dreamily fall asleep watching TV or take turns exchanging latest crush details with roommates.
I’ve learned that if things aren’t working, make changes. Whether it be finding a new circle of friends, moving to a new apartment or joining a campus organization. Realize tough times are not always your fault, but also always embrace the critism of others and be prepared to change if necessary.
The past year has literally been a blur and even though there is a lot that I accomplished, I have regrets.
If you can figure out what you want now, don’t hold back. Whether it is changing or adding a major, getting that internship that will lead you on the path to success, asking out that special someone you’ve been eyeing all year, applying to study abroad, do it now because if you don’t, I promise the moment will pass you by.
Being the News Editor of the New U has given me a place where I finally feel like I belong. I finally feel like I have a purpose and job that requires responsibility. I finally have a place to go where seemingly mundane things such as disputing whether or not the word ‘a’ should be capitalized or not truly matters. I know that someone understands my love and attention to words when the usage of words are challenged and reconsidered after each week’s publication.
But more than that, I have a group of people who I can call friends. A group of people who called or sent a friendly message my way after knowing I had been in a car accident.
Unlike other more prepared graduating students, I will be unemployed after school ends and I don’t have a graduate school waiting for my arrival in the fall. My life is a black abyss, a question mark. I constantly wrestle with answering that life-long question, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’
I worry about moving home with my parents because my friends and my life are in Irvine. Again, life has thrown me another period which requires readjustment. I must remind myself that although I may again feel like that lost girl in a vast world, in the end things will work themselves out because they always do. If all else fails I can retreat back to Irvine and return to the New U. to old friends and familiar faces, but only for a visit.
I don’t want to let go. I won’t until it’s too late, until the system itself propels me out into the real world. Even now, I keep pushing away the reality that in less than two weeks I won’t be a part of the New U. spending long Sundays with everyone I’ve grown to know this past year. In less than a month I won’t have a room in Irvine to go to. I don’t want to graduate; I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to think about it.
Lura Jaques is a fourth-year English major and outgoing News Editor.