Embracing a new chapter

When I last wrote an article for the paper, I had just finished my senior year of high school and was getting ready to begin a new chapter of my life at the University of Georgia.

My first year at school was filled with new friendships, lots of school work, fun nights out, a new sorority and many memories. Despite some COVID-19 setbacks, such as online classes and limited events, I am grateful to say that I was able to have a much more normal year than many other students. Although I wasn't heavily impacted by COVID obstacles, I still dealt with the usual ones that any college freshman experiences.

I worked hard to keep old friendships alive all while welcoming in new ones, and, for the first time, found myself dealing with real life problems. Problems that I had never had to deal with before, and ones that weren't just my own. People that I thought would always be in my life grew distant, and it took some time for me to accept that things were going to change for good. I wasn't the only person who was moving on. Being on my own and so far away from home, I found that I had to process a lot of these changes on my own, and the person I began to rely on most was myself.

I realized that what felt like a challenging and confusing time was really a time when my new life was coming together. My roommate became a new best friend, my sister and I grew closer than ever, and distance really did make the heart grow fonder. With time and distance, I learned to truly appreciate my family and hometown friends. With every morning coffee run with my roommate, every night out with my sorority sisters, and every walk to class in the Georgia heat with new friends, Georgia began to feel more like home. And I began to learn a valuable lesson.

We aren't meant to stay in the same place forever, and I think we know that. But what isn't always as clear is that we aren't supposed to stay the same people forever. We try to hold on to bits and pieces of our past selves or make failed efforts to keep in touch with people we can hardly relate to anymore, with the idea that if we let those things go, if we move on, we might lose ourselves.

But what I learned this year is that it is essential to let certain parts of our old lives go, in order to embrace our new ones.

For now, Georgia is my new life, and I am looking forward to what sophomore year has in store.

- Katie Hughes of Hinsdale is a 2020

graduate of Nazareth

Academy and a former

contributing columnist.

Readers can email her at

[email protected].