Truman State University.
I spent one year there. And it was a really, really rough year… Especially second semester.
First semester started off great. But I really missed my family and hated how it took an entire day to journey home and back. Plus, I didn’t have many friends (I’m not sure if it’s me, or Truman, or a combination, but I found it really hard to connect with people), and the one great, true friend who I saw daily was leaving.
As for the spring semester? Well, I spent most of it sitting in my dorm room alone, feeling trapped and lonely, missing my family and friends and regretting going back. I often felt like I couldn’t breathe, suffocated by loneliness and tedious repetition.
And, as if that wasn’t hard enough, I was in terrible shape physically. The “spring” semester is always tough for me in general, because my body hates the winter (and we all know that, in the Midwest, winter goes from December to April), but this year was even worse than most. I was so fatigued, I could barely function. My nerve pain, tremors, migraines, and muscle spasms were all gradually increasing as the semester went on, as well… and so was my weakness, specifically in my left hand.
But, despite all of this, my heart hurts right now when I realize that my Truman State University adventure is all over. And it ended way too abruptly.
I didn’t get to say goodbye to the beautiful campus or my amazing, homy dorm room. The last time I saw my room, I had no idea it was going to be the last time. I didn’t get a chance to soak it all in and relive the many memories that happened in that room. I didn’t get a memorable last dining hall dinner or c-store run. I didn’t get to go on one last stroll around campus, taking in the togetherness and family-feel of the quad on warm, sunny days. The last time I sat in my Spanish class (a class I adored and looked forward to every day), I didn’t know was the last time. Actually, I don’t even remember the last day of any of my classes… That’s how routine and un-memorable they were. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends, nor the acquaintances who I only ever talked to during class but still loved. There were things I had planned, things I wanted to do with my friends before the semester ended, that I never got to do because it ended for me before I was ready.
See, despite the fact that I was sometimes pretty miserable there… There were still things I enjoyed, and I wasn’t yet ready for them to end. For one, I enjoyed my Spanish class. I enjoyed how much I learned, the class discussions/debates we had, the freedom my professor gave us over our essays, the fact that I was gradually becoming a little more confident in speaking. Secondly, I loved my dorm room. I loved everything about it (besides the flooding, dripping ceiling, and broken heater, of course…). I also enjoyed taking “walks” around campus when the weather was warm, amongst so much more.
And by the end of the semester, I was finally realizing all of this. It finally hit me, as I was going on a walk one beautiful, warm, sunny day that I was actually maybe a little bit happy, and I could, in fact, make it to the end, after all. The overwhelming anxiety and stress that I’d been feeling most of the semester had improved considerably, and I had a newfound surge of energy and motivation as the end neared. I clearly remember looking at the sidewalk that day after passing the quad, where many of my peers were playing with puppies on the feel. I looked at the sidewalk and admired how the sun made it glitter and shine. It’s such a small thing, but it’s pretty, and it made me smile. I also smiled thinking about how I loved that, at 10 in the morning, half the school was out on the quad, soaking up the sun and taking advantage of that beautiful spring day. It was, in that moment, that I realized how much I loved my school and the people in it. It’s too far from my family and my doctors so it’s not the right fit for me, but still, it’s an incredible school, nonetheless.
So, Truman State University— thank you. Thank you for countless memories, experiences, and life lesions… Both good and bad. And thank you for a memorable freshman year. I don’t regret a minute of it, and I’ll forever be a Bulldog at heart.