made in 1997

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, AND I CAN DEFINITELY SAY THAT MY FIRST YEAR AS AN ADULT HAS GONE EXCEPTIONALLY WELL, AND HOPEFULLY YEAR 19 OF MY EXISTENCE WILL BE EQUALLY SO.

Not gonna lie though, today’s been a long day…From an eight AM calc class, to a Chemistry exam (VERY FIRST TEST OF MY COLLEGE CAREER!), to a bio quiz (which I may or may not have gotten a 50 on…) to a meeting at 4, an orientation at 5:30, today’s been quite the day…

It’s also the first birthday that I’ve spent away from my family, my home and a good majority of my friends. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much today, maybe a couple “Happy Birthdays” from a few close friends who happened to remember that today was my birthday. But the great thing about college is that it’s filled with surprises.

I’m part of an amazing group of students here at U.T. In that past three weeks, we’ve studied for Chem tests and quizzes, finished calc homeworks until the early mornings, basically spent every meal together, and more importantly, found a group to call home. And today, all of them wished me a happy birthday (I even got a donut and a balloon animal!). Thank you guys, because it really means a lot. It’s only been three weeks since we first met each other, but we’ve become so much more than just “some kids in the same college program.”

My phone conversations from today are filled with birthday wishes from my family, my friends and teachers from high school, and now my friends from college. It’s not that I base my happiness on how many of these text messages I receive; it’s just that it’s in these small gestures, each and every day — not just on my birthday — that I’m reminded that despite being away from home, I’ve found ANOTHER home here at college.

To put it in better words, I’ll quote Grapes of Wrath: “In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.”  Of course, the context of the situation is totally different (none of us are suffering from the wrath of capitalism…though wrath of college tuition? haha, definitely), but the sentiment expressed reflects how I see our situation: No longer are we kids from different backgrounds, different towns and high schools and different families. We’re all part of the U.T. family here.

So thank you. Thank you, Mom, Dad and Allen. Thank you, Ellen, Erika, Minha, Sydney, Diya and my countless other amazing friends from high school. Hope y’all’s colleges are treating you well. And thank you, Elizabeth, Aevi, Sophia, Maike, Ananya and all the other great DS’ers here.

I’m so glad to be able to call all of you guys my friends, and I’m even gladder to know that my bubble that I call “family” has grown into such a big and warm circle of lovely people.

(And of course, shout-out to Facebook birthday reminders. 😉 )

I’d be lying if I said that this September 13 has felt the same as the past eighteen September 13ths. But I’d also be lying if I said this wasn’t the best one yet. ❤

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