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Changing scenery is never easy. Moving can bring personal challenges, discomfort, and distance from your loved ones (both physically and mentally). It can place strain on your feeling of comfort and security, it can be frightening. However, it can also bring new people, perspectives, adventures, and growth into your life.
As a young adult, I’ve switched colleges three times. I have dreams that have taken many different shapes over the years. First, art school grabbed my attention. I have been an artist my whole life and even went to an art high school, so it just made sense. I spent an amazing year crafting and developing myself and my perspective of the world. I truly believe there are certain things viewing the world through an artistic lens can teach you that you can’t learn anywhere else. You discover how to see in a multitude of ways, how to really look at what is going on. Art is an amazing outlet for expression and communication. However, while I love art with all my heart, I realized that I can cultivate my practice in many ways and wanted to dedicate my formal education to something more difficult to study on my own. Environmental justice is something that has always been important to me, and I wanted to fight for it (and still do). So I packed up and went to university for environmental studies. To make the transition, I transferred to a small community college for two years. Through all of this I found the reality that I want to be and do a million things at once. I’m always changing my mind about where I should be, and I’ve found beauty in every choice, every branch of myself. Change can be both magnificent and difficult.
I’ve lost two significant relationships in my moving. Call me naïve, but these were both people I saw a life with. It’s true that distance can be rough. In changing place I became nearly isolated from time to time. I made new worlds for myself that have fallen through my hands. It can be heart wrenching. But—I’ve also learned that real friends stay. They stick by you and recognize that it’s important to work toward your dreams. I’ve also grown in my idea of love. No amount of distance can break a true bond. Years can pass and love can still be found for each other when you return, whether that be romantic, platonic or familial. And new opportunity to make lasting connections can arise wherever you go. I’ve met some of the most influential people in my life in these few years who inspire me every single day.
It can feel really strange to move around. You might question yourself and if your decisions have been the right ones. You might think it would have been easier to have stuck with one goal. But what is easy is not what is best. I am so thankful now for the opportunities I’ve had to join communities in both art and social science, and how these worlds can overlap in beautiful and powerful ways. Most recently I’ve joined my university newspaper as an illustrator, and it feels amazing to combine my passions through this platform.
Sometimes it’s still rough to find my place in new space. Sometimes I still feel lost and loss in what has changed. But when turbulence hits, all you can do is ride it out and make it through to better things. There is beauty in every opportunity you take. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned and who I’ve been lucky enough to know through these experiences for anything. Keep an open mind and heart, and never forget that the journey is yours.
Much love and luck to you, wherever you choose to grow.