I would come nowhere near labeling myself as a sentimental. However, the nostalgia I feel for college life comes all too often. I miss the Classic City. I miss being in a college student mindset – invincible, limitless.
What I miss most though are the people.
UGA is huge. With over 36,000 students enrolled, it can be easy to get lost in a crowd of people, especially when you are from a small coastal town in Southeast Georgia. What is special about UGA though is how many opportunities there are to get involved.Once you put get your foot in the door to a sorority or fraternity house, the Center for Student Organizations (now called the Center for Student Activities and Involvement) or any of the college ministry groups, it opens up a smaller world where you can find your own niche, becoming a name not just a number. The involvements I listed are just the ones I was involved in, not mentioning athletics or the plethora of other fun, communal activities on the UGA campus.
A big part of this for me was the transition from personal relationships to professional relationships. Transitioning from deep, 2 AM Little Italy relationships to somewhat surface, work relationships was difficult, and for an extrovert like me, the isolation that I let incur from that was toxic.
Finding purpose was another big part of the transition for me. I am a true millennial in this way. Work to me needs a purpose, a reason; it needs to make a difference. In my first job out of college, I liked it, I liked the people, but I did not feel like I was working towards anything. I was learning, I was making great friends, but I could feel myself feeling stuck, lonely and purposeless. I was not separating my purpose or identity from my work and I could not see beyond that job.
After almost a year in my first job, I decided to venture elsewhere in the hopes that returning to a familiar place would spark something in me that I knew I once had. I found a fellowship with a local youth ministry, applied and was accepted. It was a place I had not imagined myself being again but a place I am eternally grateful for, home.
In every dream I had before this point, home was not where I was and a fellowship was not what I was doing, but here I am. For me, coming back to my roots, my foundation, sparked my dreams again and set me on a different, but incredible journey. Although I am still working on the purpose bit and have just acknowledged at this point that there will probably never be another time like college again, coming home allowed me to regenerate, dream again and set my sights on something new and hopeful.
It allowed me to remember where I came from so I can imagine where I want to be.
Hopefully, I will be in graduate school next year working towards a degree in social work. A field I had never considered until two mentors on separate occasions both mentioned it to me. Had I never come home though, I may not have ever thought about social work and the doors it can open.
The journey has been different than I expected but so worth all of the people I have met, lessons I have learned and new dreams I am working towards.