Chapter 24: FRESH(man) Reflection

Where does one begin when describing their first year of college? 

It's a time in your life when independence and perseverance is forced upon you. There is no longer time to waste, there is constant pressure put on you at all times and you either embrace challenges or run from them. For the second time in your life, (the first being kindergarten) you are in a place where you don't know anybody. It's a transition, challenge, and a blessing. 

I remember walking into the Dyson dorm back in September being shocked to find a spacious room awaiting me; most college students live in a small box with no bathroom, I was one of the luck ones... I was determined to make this room into a small home, a place where people wanted to be. Prior to orientation I remember being so worried about not being able to make friends, about safety, adulthood....I was worried about anything and everything you could possibly worry about until my stomach hurt. I had 11 boxes shipped to my door filled with dorm decor and personal belongings and four days later my parents waved goodbye. It was both terrifying and thrilling; I was now totally responsible for my mistakes and my successes. 

I was blessed to meet my best friends on the first two days of being here; I met two of them on Facebook and I walked up to the others at orientation and said, "Hey! I have no friends, can I be yours?" I received mildly confused looks from them, but in about a week we became really close friends and now we are inseparable. Most people don't find their people right away, and that was purely a blessing; God only knows I can't handle life without good people by my side. 

Fall quarter was still considered a time of adjustment for me; I lost my ability to workout everyday like I had in high school due to the fact that my work was, (and still does) consume my life. I was awfully bad about finding productive work habits, I'd get easily distracted by social events and I took too long to do everything; I quickly learned how to work productively and fast. It was nice getting to know everybody and by the end of that quarter I was sad to part with my friends for six weeks. These guys had become my family- they understood my mind and my scattered thought process that is constantly focused on fashion. Nonetheless, I was ready to go home and reground myself over winter break. It was fantastic to reunite with my family and best friends in the whole wide world who I will always miss so dearly. 

I came back in January ready for another quarter of fun... (I have to laugh at myself) and that's when I found out what I was in for at SCAD. Winter quarter brought the longest period of stress I'd ever faced in my life. Each week I would usually stay up far too late at least one night, (and that bed time only gets later as your progress into your major). I pushed myself to learn things I never thought I could do and I got through the hardest class I'd ever experienced. I learned so much winter quarter- how to deal with conflict, people, school, time management and how to make time for fun. I discovered the great and awful qualities in my friends; I realized that I could never live without them, they are my Sav family. We treated ourselves to a week at Tybee for spring break where we walked and talked on the beach for miles on end, went for midnight swims, and enjoyed each other in a stress-free environment. I highly recommend a time of rejuvenation after a quarter/semester from hell; I came back ready to work.

Spring quarter brought amazing experiences along with extreme loss of motivation. I stuck it out, learned a new set of skills and got super involved with the spring fashion rush. I took a new position working as an assistant editor for SCAD Manor, SCAD's official fashion blog. I made sure I kept myself involved with the senior work and I got to know a few of the most amazing designers who had their garments walk in the spring show. Volunteering on photoshoots, backstage, and at SCAD Style helped me acquire new knowledge on all things fashion.  That lead me to become severely unmotivated to do any of my classwork; I longed to do fashion every single night and I would sit in class and draw during all of my art history lectures. I ended up allowing myself to pick up my sketchbook for just 30 minutes before bed so I could get out the ideas that clogged my brain all day. By the time May 28th rolled around all of my foundation classes were complete with a nice, clean 4.0 GPA. 

Outside of school I dealt with true adult things that really sucked. I signed my first lease, dealt with my summer plans, figured out how to pay a water bill from out of state, how to live without seeing your friends for five months, (we got really good at talking on the phone) and how to survive in a place inhabited with some really shitty people. Tears were shed and stress did bad things to my body. Lots of growing up was in order when you go to college, especially 17 hours away. Instagram shows the good parts, writing shows all parts. 

Tomorrow I will leave Savannah at 7:30am to go home...FINALLY. After five months of living in a dorm eating dining hall food, I will be able to appreciate my stove so much more. I can't wait to hug my best friend and squeeze my dog until she hates me. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to spend my first year with, and I couldn't be more greatful for the never ending support from my Wisco people. There's nothing I would do over and nothing I would ever consider a mistake; the lessons I've learned have shaped me into who I am today. I've changed a lot, but I'm just more Ashley Romasko than I was before. 

Here's to completing my first year, and cheers to the many more amazing years to come!