I always struggle with how much to share about my personal life on here, but after reading Carly's "The Supposed Tos" post the other night, I've been inspired to share more. I think I cried the entire time I read Carly's post, because it was just so nice to be able to relate to someone's experience. It also brought back a lot of the feelings and emotions I felt 2 years ago, during a really difficult period in my life. I've probably scheduled this post four or five times, not knowing whether or not to actually post it, but I think sharing my experience will be somewhat cathartic.
My entire life, I felt the need to be the "best" at everything. I put quotes around best, because to me, the "best" was a definition I made up, which was basically a set of unrealistic expectations I made for myself. If I didn't succeed in achieving these goals, I would beat myself up SO badly. I HAD to have a perfect GPA in high school, I had to be a homecoming princess, I had to get a certain number of distinction seals on my diploma, I had to get a certain score on my SATs, and I had to get into the college that had been chosen for me before I was even born. None of these "successes" brought me any joy, though. I would just move on to the next goal on my checklist, because I wasn't living life for me.
I was a homecoming princess my senior year, got the SAT scores I wanted, finished high school with the GPA I had only dreamed of freshman year, got in early decision to the school my parents had dreamed about me going to, and graduated with honors. These accomplishments are great, but they weren't really for me. Were they what I even wanted, or were they goals that I had set for myself because these were the distinctions that others deemed "perfect"? I look back and am so proud of everything I accomplished during those years, but realize that I wasn't really living for myself.
The summer before my freshman year of college, I dreaded going to school. All of my friends were SO excited to leave home and make their way to the schools THEY had chosen for themselves, but I was going to the school my parents had chosen. I honestly went into freshman with the best attitude possible and prayed that everything would work out, but it just didn't. My school was really tiny, and everyone knew everyone. That environment works for some people, but it wasn't for me. I had a hard time making friends, because I felt like I didn't click with anyone there. Of course, there were some fun times there, but I was never truly happy.
I went to this school for 1.5 years and it was miserable. All of my friends were having the time of their lives, and I cried every day...literally every day. By sophomore year, I was going home every weekend, and I was really depressed...like actually depressed. I don't remember one night that I didn't cry myself to sleep because I was so miserable. I felt so alone, and all I wanted to do was get through college. Then at the beginning of second semester, I decided to leave school. It was the hardest decision I had ever made, but I was so unhappy, I just couldn't stand it any longer. The connection my family has to the school--family members work there, relatives have gone there, and I literally have baby pictures of me in onesies with the mascot on it--made the decision even more complicated. I took spring semester off and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I don't regret it at all--I worked and took time to figure out what I wanted.
After that semester, I went six hours from home and began my college journey at USC. It definitely wasn't a completely smooth transition, but it has been amazing. I love South Carolina, USC, my sorority, and all of the friends I've made here. I decided on the major I wanted, joined the sorority I wanted, and now make all of my decisions based on what I want. It's crazy seeing dreams I had years ago unfold each day, and I thank God every day for all of the blessings he has given me. My life changed so much after I decided to live it for myself, and I am SO much happier. I learned that I am in control of my own destiny--no one else.
Thanks for listening to my story. Remember, live YOUR life.
Miss Southern Prep