It’s crazy to think that I am approaching my FINAL month of college. In a sheer month, my final day of college classes will be coming to a close, and I will be in full swing finals/graduation mode. My Meredith College experience has been one for the books it has been full of many established friendships, connections, bonds, memories, and much more. It is most definitely bittersweet!!!

At this point in my college career, it is time for me to figure out my next steps post-graduation. This is a very daunting experience, as I am striving to make the best decisions on where my life is headed. Currently, I have decided to move to the Washington, DC area and will be come the end of May. However, I am feeling a ton of nerves over the move – sometimes more than excitement. Most of my friends live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area as well as a lot of my network. Although I grew up in Northern Virginia, I do not keep in touch with a lot of people who still reside there. Most of my friends that I still have in my contacts from my high school years reside elsewhere and/or have their own lives in the area. On the same token, I am really looking forward to meeting others in my future workplace, organizations/networks that I plan to join, fellow influencers, and potential classmates at a prospective graduate school. Currently, my lease on my current apartment in Raleigh ends on May 21. My living situation come the end of May is still up in the air, but I am getting somewhere – slowly but surely. While everything feels oh so up in the air at this moment, things will come together.

Similar to my own experiences, most of my friends are in the same boat with deciding on their post-graduation plans. I remember my Big Sis Stephanie sharing with me her own Senior year experiences on choosing what to do after college. I even have friends in their Sophomore and Junior years of college who are feeling the same. It is a crazy time not only for me, but for others, too.

I have cherished many moments within my time at Meredith. It, in fact, feels just like yesterday that I was arriving on campus for orientation! When I toured Meredith, I remember falling in love with the preppy dressed students on campus and the plethora of Lilly Pulitzer-themed dorm rooms which I saw along with the adorable merchandise sold on campus. I could not wait to plan my own dorm, and I successfully did so along with my apartment. Besides decorating two dorm rooms and an apartment, I also made several friends and expanded my network like no other. My network is one that has grown and allowed me to flourish both on and off of my college campus. The memories that I made and the experiences that I have had will allow me to thrive in my post-graduation life, too.

Although what is considered to be a typical college experience got cut short due to Covid-19, I did not let it stop me from still making memories and making the best of it all. When Covid-19 first began and we were all subject to our own homes for months at a time, I felt really depressed and fearful. As a social butterfly, I had a hard time accepting the fact that the coronavirus pandemic would overtake the world that we live in today for over a year. Over time, I decided to make the best of it all and work through my feelings of sadness. On Meredith’s campus, there is a lot of issues going on when it comes to racism – both good and bad. Meredith’s responses have not been the best in terms of responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, Stop Asian Hate movement, and simply inclusion across campus. While some are working towards a better and more inclusive environment on Meredith’s campus, some of the higher up folks are not. That being said, I am relieved that I did not have a “typical” Senior year of college, since I feel that Meredith needed to lay low this year, pandemic or not.

Looking back, I am blessed that Covid-19 happened in some ways and in other ways I am not. Before the pandemic began, I struggled with a ton of insecurities and self acceptance and love. My mental health was also at an all-time high which made it tough at times. But, once Covid-19 started, I was able to really sit down and examine my thought processes and truly stride towards loving me and only me. My self love and acceptance journey has continued throughout the remainder of my college experience and it would not have been possible without the coronavirus pandemic prompting us all to stay at home for the durations that we did.

While it is bittersweet that my college experience is coming to a close, I am also looking forward to new and exciting experiences to come in the next few months. Here’s to a bright future ahead!!!

XOXO – Katie <3

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