Firsts and Lasts

June 1, 2021

When I rolled over this morning and saw that my phone read June 1st, I thought, HOW. It’s already June? You know how when you were a kid and days in the summer always seemed to have fewer hours, and weeks fewer days, simply because you wanted them to last longer? How school would end and suddenly it was the Fourth of July and then time to pick out a new backpack? Having those feelings as a one-week-old college alum, it feels the same…until you remember that for the first time since roughly the age of three, you won’t have to pick out a new backpack. You won’t have to make a last-minute Staples run to buy that one blue folder that will function as a home for all five of your classes and the speeding ticket you got last week too. Now, summer will come, and school will not. Weird right?

You see, lasts are usually as terrifying as they are because they imply a first is coming. Firsts means, something is sweeping in and throwing off your life as you know it. Now there are great firsts, like the time I tried my first Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich (out of body experience, truly) or getting your first car, even though it may be older than you it has more character than half your high school class so it’s pretty special. But then there are the scary firsts. The first time you take the SATS or have to travel alone without your family. Things that seem tough, but are actually not so bad. Then, there’s the ultimate first. Your first day in the real world.

I spent my first day in the real world, May 23, 2021, hungover, eating pulled pork and forcing champagne out of a squirt gun down my throat. Some may call that avoidance, I called it coping. Did I want to leave a community of people who had understood my hit or miss humor, inability to drive without waving a friendly hello to a curb, and unspoken personality trait to never turn down a cheeseburger? Of course not. Did I want to leave the place that nourished my hunger with $6 boxes of fried chicken and let me show off my thirteen years of ballet training in a nightclub filled with desperation masked by denim skirts? Of course not. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.

While college is a great place to further study things that interest you, let boys sleep over without your mom knowing and become a master of curing hangovers, there are so many great things to learn that you’d never expect. I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned in my four years that I plan to take with me to the real world to further kick ass and takes names, they include:

  1. You don’t actually have to separate your whites and darks as long as the water is on cold. You probably should, but you really, really do not have to.

2. A white comforter is never a good idea. I don’t care how neat you are, how much it matches your aesthetic, or if Mr. Pottery Barn himself hand-designed it for you. It will get ruined, you will get upset.

3. Working while in school actually benefits your productivity. Now I understand this may not be the case for everyone, but with the amount of free time you’re exposed to in college, it’s easy to procrastinate. Working will not only give your more flexibility to have a drinking fund, but can also help manage your time more effectively.

4. Never EVER date a boy who is rude to Uber drivers. Now, this is not to shade anyone I’ve ever dated (all of them were fabulous to anyone in the service industry, shoutout you guys), but in general, it’s a good rule of thumb. How he treats people that come into his life temporarily, is a great indicator of how he will treat people in his life permanently.

5. You’re supposed to mess up. A lot. This is one I had wished I realized earlier on, as easy as it is to be hard on yourself, just know the point of college is to grow, whether that be as a student, a friend, girlfriend, or general human. As long as you own your shit when you should, time will heal most things. (Unless your a total asshole who deserves their comeuppance.. but I’m talking hangxiety, “probably shouldn’t have said that” things and such.)

6. Be a go-getter. The chance to go to college is a privilege most people would love to have. Don’t waste it by being unmotivated. Ask questions, reach out to mentors, and show up when you’re expected to work, ready to learn something you didn’t already know. I’m not saying be a hardo with no life, but try and better yourself, however that may look like to you.

7. Learn to embrace filth. If you are going to come into college expecting to keep your white Vans clean and your hair nicely curled, please exit the premises immediately. College is supposed to be filled with rusty bathroom sinks and sweat, lots of sweat.

8. Be a YES-MAN/WOMAN. There will be a lot of times when you won’t feel like it, whatever “it”  is but I can wholeheartedly promise you you will never regret spending time with people you love. Netflix will always be there, your friends won’t always live down the street.

9. One is silver, and the other is gold. If you’re like me you remember all of those campfire songs from Girl Scouts that used to ring through the halls of elementary schools everywhere. If you remember the song about friends you’ll know that the lyrics will hold true through the rest of your adult life. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Never be too busy, too cool or too caught up in your own new life to forget about your home friends, childhood friends, family friends, and all the people who knew you before you knew yourself. As my favorite man, Ben Rector says, “You can’t make old friends”. You know who the important ones are, maintain an effort.

10. Lastly, you can only plan so much. Anyone who has ever lived with me knows I’m not the most type-A person out there, but I am indeed a Virgo, and I tend to enjoy a bit of a plan. I learned the hard way that most things will not go as planned, and that is the beauty of things working out the way they should. As the past year showed us all, you make your plans, and God laughs. Embrace chaos and things that don’t seem to go as you’d hope. Redirection is a huge blessing.

As I conclude my wannabe older sister bit, I leave you with my first “That’s What She Said” blog. I created this because as I was reaching a new ending, and I was in dire need of a new first that brought me joy. My first passion project, and first attempt at trying to take what’s in my chaotic brain, and turn it into a digital diary of sorts. One I plan to share with the world because I’m an open book and a chronic over-sharer, so it just makes sense. As I embark on my new beginning, I may not have school to go to anymore, but I can undoubtedly say I will be doing my best to learn and grow every day until I’m old and wrinkly. Even then I’ll still probably be bothering every salesperson at Costco for some entertainment. Although most of us probably peaked in college, our twenties still await with more excitement and adventure than we could ever dream up right now in our childhood bedrooms.

So if you’re like me, sitting in your childhood bedroom wondering what’s next? Or if you’re struggling with any sort of ending, remember you and you alone get to decide what your new beginning looks like, and I couldn’t be more excited for you.

Cheers to your firsts and lasts and all the walkin’ in between. 

Abby

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