This isn’t going to be a cliché “these were the best four years of my life” article. Yes, college was better than high school. I had a lot of fun and I met a lot of amazing people. There were bad times and there were good times. With my undergraduate college career at an end, I am reflecting on my time at Bloomsburg as an experience.
Bloomsburg was a last minute decision. I got into two major schools in big cities with programs that interested me. When I looked at the big picture, I sadly couldn’t afford them. I’m from East Stroudsburg and with half my high school staying local, ESU was not an option in my mind. I decided to look at other PASSHE schools and applied to Bloomsburg. I figured I could always transfer in a year or two.
There were times this place felt terrible. Many times during freshman year, all I could think of was going home. I was shy and didn’t have many friends. I don’t party, so weekends seemed boring. Without a car, I felt trapped. I struggled with having high standards for myself, making some classes stressful during my sophomore year.
Junior year was a rough patch. I lived with random people and though they were nice, I felt like they didn’t like me. I lived on upper campus while my friends lived downtown. I felt extremely out of place amongst my friends, and even more out of place among the Bloomsburg community. I started taking my art classes for my minor and although fun, they were very time consuming and stressful. I didn’t work that year and I felt bad that I didn’t. I became a lot more insecure and negative. I felt like I was reverting to my high school behaviors and the same mentality: just make it through, better days are coming.
Better days did come and I didn’t even have to wait until after graduation.
Senior year, although a bittersweet year, was probably my best year. I changed my attitude completely. I found a nice place to live that suited me. I worked at an amazing on-campus job. I stayed in Bloomsburg during winter and I got a feel for living completely independent. Having my car here gave me the freedom to explore the area and do whatever I felt like. I’ve made some of my best artwork and I have published writing. I feel healthier and stronger from going to the gym. I’m more sociable, friendly, and I feel like I’m accepted here.
Downtown is nice and living there this year was great. The Fog and Flame is my favorite gem, having spent much time reading books and drinking their delicious chai latte. Being close to the Big Chill, local restaurants like Ready Go, Filet 18 or West End, even the Dollar General, was so nice. Going to the town park, the sun shining on the fountain, and being a short walk from campus made life here so much better. The weekends weren’t boring anymore.
Even when times seemed hard, I pushed through and I feel like a better person now. My first roommate, Tara and my friend Nick, you were my first friends here, so thank you. Joe, thank you for choosing Bloomsburg too, otherwise I wouldn’t have found my best friend here. Annemarie, Shannon, Justin, and the BUnow squad, senior year was the best because of you all. There’s so many people I could thank for even the smallest things.
I met some amazing people that I’ll miss dearly, but this isn’t the end. I’ve had some amazing professors and classes. I’ve done so much in so little time; I felt like what I’ve done here actually mattered.
Like that last minute decision to come to Bloomsburg, I made the last minute decision to walk during graduation during the final week of classes. I realized, as boring as it is to sit through another 500+ graduation (my high school was 511), this is a nice bookend to this chapter in my life. Walking is that final closure, that moment where I can accept that I worked hard for four years to come out a better person than I came in.