If I could go back to my sophomore year of college…
My sophomore year of college was amazing. What made it so amazing is that it was my REAL fresh start. My first year I had an absolutely horrid roommate, barely made any friends, started second guessing everything I was good at, and, although I absolutely fell in love with Burlington, VT, sincerely considered transferring to UMass Amherst. But I gave UVM a second chance, opted for a random roommate and, although no longer speak, she and I became unfathomably close. We forged what seemed at the time like unbreakable bonds with half the people on our floor (one of whom is now the best friend I will ever have in my entire life). We commandeered a small couch to squeeze into our room and thus became the hangout room; we also never shied from lounging on the floor in the hallway… or adding some whipped cream vodka to my orange Fanta from the vending machines so we could drink in the hallway (tastes like a creamsicle, it’s great).
My sophomore year of college was by far the most informative year of my life. I decided that year to double major in English and Art History- a decision I will never regret. I learned that to get the most out of life you need to explore. I began to get to know Vermont so well and visited as many new places as possible. I took as many different classes as possible. I made as many new friends as possible. I learned to be comfortable with who I am. It was the longest period of time I can remember where I was consistently and truly happy.
If I could go back to my sophomore year of college… I wouldn’t.
It kills me to admit it; I wouldn’t go back if you paid me a million dollars. I wouldn’t change a thing about that year, true, but I also acknowledge that the most amazing thing we accomplish is the evolution of our own lives. It’s 5 years later and I am even now a very different person than I was back then and still acknowledge that those experiences shaped who I am today, more than almost any experience in my life thus far, but what would going back accomplish other than turning my current nostalgia into an agonizing ache in my heart to stay there forever?
We cannot go back and we shouldn’t want to torture ourselves by wishing to. Our memories of what we call the best days of our lives are things we need to never let go of. They should serve as reminders that every day we wake up is, in fact, the best day of our lives; it is new and it is a chance for us to take those memories, take what we’ve learned about ourselves, and become even more the person we wish to and have the capability to be . We are ever evolving creatures of amazing potential and we must never forget that!
I believe that there is a reason we experience time the way we do: to be given innumerable chances to grow, to change, to make mistakes, to explore, to meet countless people, to face hardship and learn from it, to make the most of every moment until you don’t look back and say “my sophomore year was the greatest year of my life,” but instead acknowledge that every moment was the greatest, because you squeezed as much as you could into it.
So if you offered me a once in a lifetime opportunity go back and relive my sophomore year of college, I would say “no, but I WILL channel the sensation of it into the entirety of my life going forward.”