As I type this, I'm sitting in a beachy little coffee shop surrounded by mamas with babies and people on business meetings and old men reading the newspaper. One thing I love about writing in coffee shops is that it's completely acceptable to be alone here. 

As I reflect back on this year, my junior year of college, I am not in awe of how fast it went. It doesn't really feel like it "flew by." In fact, coming into my senior year now, none of it feels like it came and went in the blink of an eye. Life feels like it's barreling through space at unbreakable speed but college feels like it's plodding right along. I don't mean for this to sound depressing, but I think that whoever came up with the phrase "College is the best four years of your life" was lying or delusional.  I certainly hope that these four years aren't the end-all-be-all of life's very existence. And I certainly wish we would stop treating them like they are. 

If I've learned anything while spending these years in school it's that college is part of your life--not your whole life. It's school, ultimately. It's a place that will provide you with a degree. You are allowed to have--and should pursue--a life outside this bubble. Yes, you will meet some of the best friends of your life here but you will also meet some of the people who will hurt you the most. If I'm being honest--and maybe I lived a bit of a sheltered life in high school--I expected college to be better than high school in terms of drama, but I never dealt with cattiness and cliques in high school to the extent I've experienced in college. And I'm not just whining after having a bad day. It's factual. It's also factual to state that I've made some of the best friendships I could have ever asked for here. You just can't have your cake and eat it too--unfortunately. 

There are those who believe it can't get any better than college. I fear for their futures. Instead of living like college is the prime of life, I want to live like I believe that life gets better every day. I want to live like I'm not afraid to grow and be honest and real when everyone else is pretending to be having the time of their lives for each other. Let's celebrate every stage of life. Let's celebrate our college years for what they are but stop pretending that it doesn't get any better than this. I'd rather live like life continues to unravel and amaze me every single day that I get to breathe than live like I'm constantly trying to prove something to myself. 

and can we call a spade a spade? College is hard. Life is hard. Hard but beautiful. Heartbreaking but amazing. 

but let's celebrate the journey & refuse to be defined by just one stage.