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In the blink of an eye

In the moment, the days feel long and the weeks are stretched, but when we reminisce, it is as if time can’t seem to slow down.

Unbeknownst to my first-year self, the next four years would fly by. 

I am sure people have told you, “College will be the best four years of your life,” and I agree, but what I did not see coming was how fast it would go or how much I would change.

Now, as a second-semester senior and with one month of being a RedHawk left, all I can do is reflect on my time here in Oxford. Thinking back to who I was in my first year, I picture myself to be shy, homesick and naive. Coming from Maryland and leaving all I had ever known behind, it felt like a steep trek up acclimating to an entirely new environment alone. 

First-year me stood in the shadows cast by others and went along with plans even if I had no inclination to be there. I preferred being surrounded by others than being alone.

But senior year me understands the value and importance of being alone. And senior year me has found uplifting and incredible friends that share the spotlight and leave no one in the shadows. 

On a day-to-day basis, we do not think anything is different about us, but over time we build new habits and routines without realizing the growth that stems from them. 

Outside of the learning objectives in a classroom, being in college transforms you as a person. You step out of your comfort zone and face new challenges which instills adaptability, resilience and confidence in yourself. 

The changes you go through may vary depending on your upbringing, where home is or who you are as a person, but college prepares you for the real world in many ways. For some, it is beginning to perform tasks of individuality such as making meals, cleaning your residence or picking up a prescription. 

For me, it was learning to navigate life without my parents helping me make every decision. I grew up in a very close knit family, and it was a tough pill for me to swallow when I was set free like a baby bird to figure out who I am. 

It feels like just yesterday my first-year roommate and I squealed at our first moment of independence. But today, I yearn to have all of the firsts again. My first college class, my first dining hall meal, my first time at Brick.

As you go through these years, be kind to yourself and others as you go through changes, big or small. Remember, college is part of growing up and figuring out who you are. 

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Like Andy Bernard said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days, before you’ve actually left them.” 

This is your reminder that you are in them right now. Cherish and enjoy your four years as a Redhawk because soon enough it will be you in a cap and gown being called to walk across the stage at Yager Stadium. 

Olivia Kerben is a senior double majoring in Social Justice and Professional Writing. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, Olivia has an unwavering passion for social justice and is enthusiastic about her opportunity to serve as an opinion writer for The Miami Student in her final semester.