One Year to go
Class of 2017
(5/2016) It certainly doesnít feel like the end of my junior year; it feels more like midway through sophomore year, or the more I think about it, maybe even midway through freshman orientation. One year from today, I will be three weeks away from commissioning as a Second Lieutenant, beginning a civilian career, and moving away from the Mount forever.
As I try not to freak out about the reality of the next 365 days, and am forced to reflect on the past 365 Ė I can come up with three real categories that everything over the past year can fit (not so neatly) into: Conclusions, Fears, and Changes.
Okay, so there are a few conclusions Iíve come to since August, here they are:
1) My mother was right all along: my sanity is indeed more important that my grades.
Iíve never been a person to stress over school or spend much time on homework, but the rumors were right and junior year proved to be my hardest year thus far. Between overloading credits, beginning Student Teaching Internship One, ROTC, and you know, life, it has been a constant stream of abnormal stress and an absurd sleep schedule. Interestingly
enough, my class attendance reflects this clearly. Iíve certainly learned the importance of a personal day.
Between impending adulthood and a series of unfortunate events this past year, Iíve developed some very irrational fears
1) Fear of Parking Lots
Hear me out Ė I backed into a car while backing out of a parking spot in November and now every time Iím forced to drive through a tight parking lot, I cringe a little. Also, every time Iím forced to back out of a parking spot, I cringe a lot. I totaled a car during my sophomore year and have no fear of that road, icy conditions, etc., but those
parking lots are terrifying.
1) Well, if youíve followed my articles, you know that I had until May 1 to decide if I want to serve out my commitment to the Army in the active component or in the National Guard or Reserves. For the first time in my life, I made a decision early and have chosen to enter the Reserves upon commissioning. Woohoo! The decision has been made Ė now, my
life plans and goals have changed and are currently changing. I was under the impression until the decision that once the choice was made, a weight would be lifted off of my shoulders and a calm, purposeful life would commence. Oh, how wrong I was. Now that the decision has been made and my daily thought process has changed, it is time to figure out a life - how vast an idea
that is to even type. Iíve learned a valuable lesson in all of this; before, with the prospect of active duty, I had a guaranteed career, paycheck, place to live, and immediate employment upon graduation. Now, as a result of a single email containing less than two sentences, I have none of that, and I donít believe Iíve ever felt happier in this entire process.
Iíd now like to take a moment to go backwards and return to conclusions-
Through the accumulation of fears, rational and irrational, minor conclusions, and major changes, this year has provided me with one ultimate conclusion.
Iím about to offer what is perhaps one of the most clichť sentences youíll hear in a long time, but Iíve come to the conclusion that embracing and appreciating life for what it is in every moment is ultimately crucial for any true level of happiness and contentment. I learned this through
fears, changes, and conclusions.
Conclusions Ė in review
I think this one speaks for itself Ė embrace the insanity and stress as a chance to sit on the couch, watch Friends, and eat bowls and bowls of chocolate ice cream.
Fears Ė in review
Okay, so, Iím afraid of parking lots. I donít have a valid or logical response to this one Ė but I do know that had I not backed into another car, I might not be so cautious in parking lots, and if you have ever parked a vehicle youíre aware this is certainly not a place where most people like to, or care to, pay attention. Iíll embrace the dent for
the cautious driving I never practiced before.
Changes Ė in review
So, I donít know what my life holds now and Iím willingly forgoing a career Ė Iím taking this opportunity to embrace the unknown and laugh a little every time somebody asks me what my future holds. Itís allowing a new appreciation for each day and each small decision.
Ultimately Ė Iíve learned this year to embrace each moment. In high school, I created a yearbook with the theme Itís your life; embrace it. The book revolved around embracing every little thing from the pains of pre-seasons to the bittersweet moment of graduation. Finally, almost four years later, Iím taking my 18 year old selfís advice. Each moment
this year held a new value Ė whether it was something as minuscule as driving through a parking lot or a career decision. Each new day offered an insight, or a stepping stone, or anything that I overlooked at the time. To mitigate a senior year of moments passing by with little to no recognition, the goal is to now embrace each moment for what it is and what it has to offer.
So maybe I was a little too stressed, and maybe I took one too many personal days, possibly I could have made some decisions earlier, and I probably should learn to be a better driver, but when I take my last final and watch my friends walk across the stage, Iíll be thanking junior year for the lessons and carrying my conclusions into my last year here in Emmitsburg.
Read other articles by Leeanne Leary