One week until my second year of college is over.
This has been the hardest year of my life.
Academically, it’s been brutal. Somehow I scrape by and things work out, but not without buckets of tears, hours in the library, sleepless nights, and full-on breakdowns. I realized that in two semesters I have read 23 books. Some of those have been excerpts, like just half the chapters or skimming, but nonetheless that’s a lot of pages. I am now entirely finished with one of my majors and close to finished with my other. I am two classes from my Certificate.
Emotionally, it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed some more and cried a whole lot more. For elaboration, read like every blog post this semester.
Physically, it’s been scary. I’ve gotten the most sick I’ve ever been in my entire life in the past two semesters. My body is more “done” with college than my brain, and that’s saying something. What began as a sophomore year when I wanted to run three or four half marathons, I am now finishing the semester canceling the only one I actually signed up for. My goal to run 50 by 50 is starting to loom over my head.
Because of these things, I am intensely bitter. And bitterness is neither healthy nor productive. Or right.
I am bitter at Duke for “breaking me.” I blame the school for the emotional, academic and physical…. Abuse. I blame them for the incredibly difficult classes. I blame them for the unhealthy food options on campus. I blame them for the homesickness, identity crises, and general feelings of anxiety and sadness. I blame them for the heartache, for their ability to bring absolutely incredible people to this school and at the same time create an environment that is so unbelievably toxic.
I am blaming. I am angry. It’s Duke’s fault.
And in the process, I am losing my joy. I am losing my love for life. I am losing my sense of peace about the present and the future. I am losing the people who mean the most to me. I am losing my positive attitudes towards things I once loved.
I have realized that it’s not lack of motivation, or fatigue, or sadness, or decreased effort that demonstrates you’re burned out. It’s bitterness.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d be able to see that even though things have been so hard emotionally, I have felt the most loved and the happiest ever at certain points this year, too.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d be able to see that even though there might be some bad eggs here, I have made some of the most incredible friends I could have ever dreamed to make.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d be able to love and forgive myself for doing the best I could given all I had going on.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d be able to love my friends more genuinely and deeply than I currently am.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d recognize how privileged I am to even have negative things to say about such an incredible institution.
If I wasn’t burned out, I’d be so sad to leave this place for the summer and for the Fall (for Abroad).
But I’m not sad to leave.
I need to leave.
I need to leave so I can refuel. I need to leave so I can come back and remember all the reasons I love this place. So I can get rid of my bitterness.
I know deep down inside that there are many things about this place that I will miss.
I will miss the sense of community here. I will miss my friends. I will miss seeing people skim my blog posts in the middle of our boring classes. I will miss grabbing every meal every day with a different person. I will miss working hard and feeling satisfied that I put my entire heart and brain into something about which I am so passionate. I will miss my research, my clubs, my comfy mattress pad.
But I need to leave. So that I can get rid of my bitterness. So that I can take care of myself. So that I can fall in love with Duke, with others, and with myself again. So that I can confidently say that I love myself, my friends, and my school.
So this is goodbye from Duke for the summer and for the Fall, but this is hello to a new series of blog posts not riddled with bitterness, sadness, and disillusionment, and instead filled with joy, relief, and rejuvenation. This is hello to a new series of blog posts not from my desk in my dorm room at college, but from Madrid, from home, from Geneva, from a season of life dedicated to falling in love with all the world has to offer.
In one week’s time, I can’t wait to say hello from the other side.