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New year, new perspectives: Graduating in 2023

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JANUARY 27, 2023

The new year never quite meant anything to me. I never saw a purpose in celebrating things that never changed. In my mind, I would wake up on January 1st at the same time, go to the same school, meet with the same people and follow the same schedule. That changed this year.

Being a graduating senior never meant much to me. I barely passed high school, and community college was like a hurdle to leap over — it all simply felt like obstacles intended to bring me here. I never allowed myself to think about a future with drastic change. My fear of failing won every battle against my hope.

I can’t think that way anymore, because as soon as my clocks hit midnight and it was officially my graduating year, I knew I was making it to where I wanted to be — I was succeeding. As 2023 begins and I enter my final semester as an undergraduate, I realize my previous definition of success fed to me most of my life was now evolving. It was no longer 4.0 GPAs, high-paying jobs or million-dollar properties. My most successful moments are those when I was happiest. Moments like running down Channing Way with my best friends in the middle of the night like nothing else mattered, adopting a kitten from the shelter and being surrounded by my remarkable peers at the Daily Californian.

I want to learn to love myself the way those who care about me most do, and see the world as something willing to gift me something new every day rather than something aiming to tear me down at every opportunity. 2022 shot me with an abundance of epiphanies and hard pills to swallow, and I swore it was the worst year of my life. I want 2023 to be the year of reflecting on the darkness from 2022, and giving myself the opportunity to heal from it before facing the world as an independent person. I no longer want to let fears of failure or brokenness fuel my entire being.

Most of my identity has been surrounded by being a student for the last 18 years of my life — so the idea of no longer being so terrifies me. Though, as I’ve said, I don’t want to let that fear and darkness overcome me anymore. I suppose, as much as I hate the idea of new year’s resolutions, these are all my resolutions. It seems as though it’s time for a new outlook — not just for me, but for anyone struggling with similar circumstances.

This new year, as I begin my goodbyes to my life as a student and enter actual “adulthood,” I want to fill my moments with these forms of personal and intimate achievements. I want to look at the friendships I’ve made, the colleagues I’ve met, and the healing I’ve undergone, and establish them as equally successful as getting my Bachelor’s will be.

I want my 2023 post-graduate life to be full of passion and adoration for myself, my life and the people around me. For the first time, I welcome and celebrate the new year — because, for the first time, I have something to truly look forward to.

Contact Geneva Hopwood at [email protected].

JANUARY 27, 2023