Disclaimer: No pictures.
It’s hard to believe that three and a half years just flew by. I remember move-in day like it was yesterday and now it’s the final move-out day. I must say, three and a half years ago I imagined this day would be heartwrenching and I would have found any reason to stay near USC, but honestly, I have only grown increasingly ready to be done with college and to leave L.A. even more. College wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I spent a lot of it truly unhappy. However, with all of those unfortunate times came really important lessons that leave me here ready to start a new chapter of my life.
While I won’t get into the depths of what made my college experience less than ‘amazing,’ I will say that many of the things I learned about myself evolved from the relationships I formed [or lost]. I learned that a lot of people are not very loyal, reliable or even respectful. I learned that many people are self-centered and participate in relationships only when it benefits them. Nonetheless, I also learned that it is unfair to project unrealistic expectations onto people when we haven’t looked at situations through their eyes. It’s completely subjective how you define “unrealistic” as well as the type of expectations you place on different people. Taking the time to gain an understanding of others’ behavior, however, did help me decide how much I wanted to invest in a relationship and if it was even possible that that relationship would last. It’s something I still struggle with because it’s normal to expect that if you’re putting in x amount of effort, the other party should too. Still, it is always worth it to try to see things from their perspective. Through this method, I began to pay attention to my own behavior and assess what I was doing to bring certain things into my life. It was from that point that I felt I learned how to be a better friend and that while relationships are based on give and take, it shouldn’t be a contest.
This brings us to the main course. This post is ultimately dedicated to the people I met during college that truly had an impact on me. There are some of you who have been with me since literally day one and some of you who I met/grew closer to this semester. You know who you are (or at least you should). Because of all of you, there are very special times I get to look back on with a huge smile and maybe even a good laugh. I also cherish each of you because you made this departure so easy. I am not sad because it doesn’t really feel like goodbye. Yes, we have social media so technically I will always feel like I am present in your life, but I do genuinely feel that I will be connected to you in a way that transcends the distance. Thank you all for helping me grow as a person and inspiring me every day to work harder and be a better version of myself. Thank you all for reminding me how fleeting certain situations can be and sticking with me through my darkest times. Finally, thank you for changing my view on what it means to be a part of the Trojan family. I finally feel like I belong. I love each of you so much.
Fight On Forever! ❤
– Ernie Harwell