I am a college student.

Each line on the tile, moving from the bottom up represents a year in my college career. Their width determines how difficult each one was compared to the others.

College doesn’t feel like four years, rather eight or ten. It goes by fast, but I also don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in this environment or didn’t know my current friends. The first year, which at Parsons is broad and sets us up with skills like drawing, sculpting, and using Adobe programs, felt low stakes. Though it was a busy year, the workload was manageable. The most stressful part was the fact that first year comes with having to make friends and meet new people. I did that, and at the start of my friendship with my group of friends at the time, things were great. Second semester I realized I wasn’t really having fun when I was with them. I started to distance myself just a little bit. When a third person moved into my dorm room, Liana, I realized I had a much more natural relationship with her than with those friends—it popped the bubble that was making me excuse behaviors or the feelings I was having about the relationships I had formed.

Second year was the hardest one to get through—I finally started taking my major classes and was faced with learning code and physical computing right off the bat. First semester I thought I was the only one struggling with handling all the new content, especially since I had not expected it to be what it was; but I found out that others were feeling the same way. Our small major became a supportive community where little judgment was held and everyone excelled at different things. We all helped each other when and how we could, and it felt better to know we were all in the same place.

My uncle passed away during my second year though, and though we saw it coming, he was someone that I thought was invincible. He had been through so much—even having been caught in a tornado—and was just the happiest person I had ever met. It was tough not only to see him go, but to see my mom lose him.

My friends and I officially had a falling out. They had a habit of disrespecting or talking negatively about my close friends, and when I heard them doing so I decided it was time for me to move on. My plan was to do so gradually; I had already been spending time with Liana and her group of friends, so just transitioning out semi peacefully was what I hoped to do. The problem was that I lived with Liana and two of those friends in an apartment and our living situation became rocky. One of them who I had confided in about some of those negative comments went and told the rest about my problem with it when they were upset with me. The next day, as I passed one of them on the street, they didn’t say hi, wave, or smile in response to my own gesture. That’s how it really ended, and the two I lived with moved out at the end of the year.

Third year started off great. The course load was manageable and I was in a better environment socially. It was a load off my shoulders, which I appreciated a lot. Our friend group had fun, I started playing basketball regularly with my friend Atossa, and I felt content--healthy in all aspects of the word. Second semester two of my closest friends left to study abroad. I was very happy for them, but also felt scared for myself as I had just gotten to a place where I was purely happy, and they played a huge role in that. But when the semester picked up everything was more than fine. I got to spend more time with other friends, and I kept myself busy branching out and meeting new people. When the pandemic hit, I went home. It was unexpected, but I got to spend more time with my family.

Now in my last year, I have bad feelings towards those who coined the term senior slide--it has not been the case for me. With the job search, thesis, and a global pandemic, this year has been quite a one. My friends and I have made the most of it (in a safe way), and I’m proud of the work I’m doing, but to say I’ve been overwhelmed is an understatement. I am so fundamentally exhausted, I cannot wait to graduate. I love learning and I’ve loved my college experience, but I’m very much ready to leave and get on with the rest of my life.