Being A 20-Something: Part II

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The second installment of Being A 20-Something. This time discussing the feelings and reflections of leaving behind an era of your life.

Twenty Something

An era is defined as

  • a : a fixed point in time from which a series of years is reckoned
  • b : a memorable or important date or event; especially : one that begins a new period in the history of a person or thing

Era is such a daunting and regal term. As the definition above implies, an era is a fixed amount of significant years in one’s lifetime. We only usually use era to define a time period that was important or memorable but I think you can separate your life into many distinct eras that all begin and end right next to each other.

I was in Orange County this past weekend walking the Chapman campus as an alumna for the first time when I finally realized that I have reached the end of an era. The end of my Chapman Years.

This marked the first time I walked around Chapman and didn’t have somewhere to go. I didn’t have to walk up the Argyros Forum staircase and pretend to not be out of breath on the 2nd floor, I didn’t have to go to the library between classes to work on a paper I should have finished the night before and I didn’t have to go to Jazzmans looking like a zombie to get my mid afternoon coffee. I just walked around and admired the fountains as President Doti intended.

Eventually in my life I would like to write a book. Most of my best writing comes from things I’ve experienced so I’m guessing most of the book would be about real events. Along with that idea, I often wonder how I would explain things to someone I’ve never met before. So I was thinking to myself, if someone asks me “how would you describe your Chapman Years?” what would I say?

You can’t just say “Oh I had a great time in college. I graduated early, made great friends and loved my time there” because college is so much more than that. Summing up four years in two sentences is like saying that Oprah had a “good” talk show; it’s offensive and rude. There is so much more to delve into. So many minor details that make up why the bigger picture is so significant.

The Chapman Years were when I first started to find my voice. The first time when I found things I was really passionate about and wasn’t afraid to voice them. Things like music, writing and being sassy. I wasn’t afraid to say what was on my mind, tell a slightly inappropriate/offensive joke or speak up for myself. I had a very hard time with that last one in high school.

Those four years of my life will be defined as the time when I really began to figure out and envision who I wanted to be. I came in as a young 18-year-old who was so ready to be on her own. So ready to take care of herself. So ready to be an adult (whatever that means).

18-year-old Sarah thought she knew exactly what she wanted. 18-year-old Sarah thought she had it all figured out and everything was going to go according to her master plan of life that she had mapped out the year before as 17-year-old Sarah. Fool proof. Her plan was absolutely fool proof (and terrifyingly detailed).

Only problem with the plan was that 18-year-old Sarah thought she could plan for the future. Hilarious right? Why didn’t someone tell 18-year-old Sarah that making plans like that is only for someone with That’s So Raven-like powers? I would have saved a lot of time and embarrassing Google searches.

I’ll forever be able to say I lived in Orange County for a decent portion of my life and during that time, I morphed into a half-adult. I say half because I’m not ready to accept the harsh reality of the situation. No one ACTUALLY wants to be an adult. We just want to be old enough to do cool things but not have to accept all responsibility. That’s why everyone loves college. It’s the Hannah Montana portion of your life. The best of both worlds.

Unfortunately for all of us, Hannah Montana only lasted 4 seasons just like college only lasts 4 years. A weird but eerily accurate metaphor.

To wrap up this word vomit, the Chapman Years were a defining four years of my life that are bittersweet to leave behind. I will always be proud of the young half-adult I grew into during the Chapman Years. Not many people can say they grew into their half-adult selves in such a close proximity to both Laguna Beach and Disneyland. Talk about being spoiled.

This was a very long reflection that came from a very short moment of walking along a marble bench while pretending I could fly amongst the flags of the world. Thanks for nothing everything college. Half-adult 20-something year old Sarah thanks you.

Chapman Fountain

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