So, here I am. A senior in college and ready to take my last final exam. Ever. It really is quite crazy to think that a little over four years ago, I was thinking about attending a number of different schools, ranging from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, to University of Alabama, to the possibility of taking a gap year. I also thought of majoring in a number of different things (and did for a short while, with changing my major about four times) from art history, to political science (why? I have no idea) to fleeting (and I mean VERY fleeting) thoughts of going the fine arts route. But here I am, in a small town in Mississippi, graduating with a degree in Editorial Journalism and a minor in Italian language from truly the most amazing university I could have found. I fit perfectly and it fits me, like puzzle pieces.
Leaving this picture-perfect place hasn't hit me yet. Hell, I have yet to even pack up my apartment. But looking back on moments, I can't help but realize that some of my life's biggest and most memorable and influential moments happened here.
What would I change about my college experience? Most people would say the cliche, "Absolutely nothing! Zero regrets." But to be honest, I have a few. I wish I started early in becoming friends with professors and hanging around people in my major. I wish I spent more time with my girlfriends. I wish I started not caring about what people thought about me my freshman year, instead of my junior year. I wish I took advantage of all of the amazing opportunities the Journalism school offered, such as speakers and internships. I wish I tried harder in school, even though I came out with a GPA I am proud of, I know I could of pushed myself harder. I wish I went to class hungover more often (hear me out) by taking advantage of all the swaps I missed for that story I had to write (work hard, play hard). I wish I was involved with ASB and wrote for the school newspaper to build my writing portfolio. I wish I spent more time in tutors offices, reading on the Square, writing for myself, and working for my dreams.
I know, it sounds like I missed out on so much. But there are so many things I am so incredibly thankful for. Like coming across the country and meeting hundreds- yes, hundreds- of people who have changed me. Or studying abroad not once, but twice, for two amazingly awesome yet totally different summers in my favorite city on the planet. I am proud to say I am knowledgeable in a second language and one I love. I also met my future husband at Ole Miss. I met friends who are doing incredible things and inspire me to do the same, like those working in foreign countries like Italy and Greece or nursing school and graduate degrees. I found a passion for travel, style, and writing that was nudged by professors and internships. During my time in college, I visited seven new countries, three of them completely on my own on my route to self -discovery. I am thankful for my sorority, and even though it wasn't a life-altering experience, it makes my heart happy thinking of the massive sisterhood I was apart of and the absolute joy it brought me while I was here. I bonded with professors and administrators who gave me life-changing opportunities and supported me immensely during my time as a Rebel. Or living in Mississippi, a vastly underrated and overlooked place, scarred with racial tension and oppression that turned out to be a small miniscule fraction of the most loving and friendly city I have discovered. And of course, this blog. Without it, I would probably burst from my lack of ability to overshare, as I always do.
So, what's next? My fiance Hayes and I are moving back to my hometown, Newport Beach, a beach town in California, and moving in together. We start work the same day; him, a fundraising manager for one of the best hospitals in the country and me, a social media coordinator for a fashion house and brand, Z Supply. We are moving into a gorgeous neighborhood with our cat Salem, a few blocks from my parents, 10 minutes from the beach. I have plans to travel on a smaller scale than I usually do, such as weekend trips to San Francisco, Napa, and D.C. to visit my sister at George Washington. Hayes and I will start planning our June 2017 Oxford wedding when we get a free second to breathe, and then honeymoon options come after (Portugal/Morocco or Scotland/Ireland?). Everything is falling into place.
At the risk of sounding cliche, I know this isn't goodbye to Oxford or Ole Miss. This isn't the last I'll be seeing of Oxford, just the last for awhile. And as always, Hotty Toddy.