Editors note: due to a procedural error, this story was written on April 9, 2015, but not published until recently. We apologize for any confusion.
Art by Jenny Rustad
I have a constant fear that I am running out of time. Perhaps that is true about my life as an undergraduate at Pepperdine. In my four years at Pepperdine, all the fun stuff like studying abroad in Buenos Aires was over in the blink of an eye, while projects, homework and exam week seemed to never end. And now graduation is around the corner.
Pepperdine has been my home away from home for the past four years and in all honesty, the thought of saying goodbye is a little overwhelming. I remember coming in as a freshman from an international school in China, not knowing what to expect. The initial culture shock in college was surreal. If anything, what I knew about college was what I had watched in American movies, so it was comforting to know that people actually drank out of those big red cups and Starbucks was as serious as the American teachers at my high school made it out to be. But I had no idea what Greek life was.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, “This must be an international student.” Well, I’m not. I am what they consider a third culture kid, and there are quite a few of us on campus. We’re the people stuck between two cultures and more times than not, we struggle with some type of identity crisis. Born in Philadelphia, I moved overseas at a young age and ended up growing up in a different culture. All the American education I had received could not have prepared me for what I was to experience.
However with all the kind people I met along the way who befriended me and showed me the ways, I slowly began to adapt. I picked up on the lingo, “Ratchet, gnarly, low key.” I ventured out of my comfort zone and through trial and error, found the things I liked and disliked. Then sophomore year, I had the blessing of going abroad for a year. That by far was my best year at Pepperdine. I learned so much about myself and came back with a newfound confidence.
But what is a journey without obstacles to face? With all the highs, there were definitely lows that came along with it: the natural stress that comes with being in college, making bad decisions and suffering the consequences, the loss of a friend and all-too-normal relationship drama. Like most people, there are times I wish I could go back and change things, but I do not regret having experienced them. They have made me the person I am today.
Attending a school on a beach is something I would have never imagined. As overused as this phrase is, I am #blessed to have had this opportunity to receive my education and meet the wonderful people I now call my friends. The professors at Pepperdine have all been so loving and kind. Their guidance has brought me a long way, and I will be forever grateful.
They say home is where the heart is. At some point in my four years here, my heart has become attached to this community. Home is here. Home has prepared me for another journey in life, and I know I am ready. The goodbye will be oh so bittersweet (more on the bitter side for me), but knowing I get to hold onto the fond memories brings a smile to my face.
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