College During an International Pandemic. Can't Be That Bad, Right?

Not to be dramatic, but March 17th, 2020 is a day that I will probably remember for the rest of my life. 

Growing up, people always told me that my college years would be the “best of my life.” Being a kid that pretty much loved everything, whether it be going through my awkward middle school stage or attending high school football games and dances, I founded it hard to believe that life could get better than it was. Something better than the comfort and joy I found growing up in my small beach town, where all my neighbors and teachers knew my name and the waiter at the local restaurant knew my order, seemed merely impossible. 

While I whole-heartedly will cherish the roots of where I have come from, I feel I have bloomed into the person I am today during my short but very, very sweet time at Cal Poly. 

I moved in on my 19th birthday and to say I was nervous is an understatement. Would I make friends? Find a community? What do I call my professors? And how the heck do I work a laundry machine? 

Lucky for me, I figured out most of these things. But more importantly I claimed my independence, truly lived. 

My weekdays were quickly filled with lots of studying and laughing in the library.  Drinking coffee at 9pm to stay up to study for Stats midterms became a ritual. 

My weekends were spent with friends at the Thursday night farmers markets, line dancing at the Grad, eating a yummy dinner, watching the sunset at the ocean, or dancing the night away while dressed up for a *usually ridiculous* theme. 

The people I connected with in Slo are truly priceless to me. People with beautiful minds, beautiful hearts, and beautiful souls. I find it hard to believe I’ve made it this far without them. 

On March 17th,  I was told my freshman year of college was over. And while I know there is a whole lot of crazy going on in the world, ending my freshman year early was still devastating. Nothing anyone can say can change that. 

Within merely a day's notice we were forced to pack our bags and leave behind the place we had been calling home. Without checking off “bucket list” items, without saying goodbye, and without living out months of memories. 

While at first this news was tragic to me and I claimed to my Dad in the living room that my life was simply put: over. I’ve come to a few realizations. 

Although my college experience has gone from looking like this to this:

 

There are still positives that can be seen. 

Today, more than ever, I am grateful. Grateful that I can close my eyes at night and playback memories of my friends and I screaming the lyrics of our favorite songs at the top of our lungs. Memories of surviving our first college exam. Memories of running away from an RA. Buying my own groceries for the first time. Getting pulled over for the first time, sorry Mom and Dad. Making ridiculous dances. And staying up way too late with friends just laughing and talking about silly things. 

While I reminisce I now know that my life is the exact opposite of over. I know that after the utter chaos of the corona virus comes to a halt,  that I will have people that I will want to run back to and hug for all of eternity. For being separated for a few months seemed like a lifetime. Today I will not grieve about what I have lost, but what I have gained. 

After all, life is about the connections we make with people and I cannot wait to connect again with my people. Until then I’ll sit at my desk, stare out my window, and dream of the day when I can live and breathe the same air as my best friends. 


Xoxo, 

Layna 

PS! My desk could be in a lot worse of a place! While we’re on the topic of finding the silver lining might I add that I am so grateful to be back in my home town with my family and long-time support system!