For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 22 2015
by Jayde Anzola

Here's Why You Should Treat College Like a Completely Blank Canvas

By Jayde Anzola - Jul 22 2015

We've heard it a thousand times. "College is a fresh start!" And to be brutally honest, while I was going through my "I'm unstoppable and the world will be absolutely perfect to me" stage in high school, I got tired of hearing that from teachers, college peers, and the like. I was finally defining who I was going to be for the rest of my life, and I definitely was not up for hearing that once the tassels turned I wasn't going to be who I was planning on being. As the second half of my senior year hit, the once annoying words of a supposed "fresh start" could not have sounded any sweeter. 

Let's take a journey down memory lane, shall we? 

It's the second half of my senior year. College decision was made (boiler up!), finding my roomie was in the works, and life felt like a well-oiled machine in the sense that it was going smoothly. And then it happened. This big, beautiful thing we call life threw me the biggest curve ball possible. My best friend decided to not be friends with me anymore. And with that came a lot of tears. A lot of pain. A lot of very different emotions. Strangely enough, it took me a long time to let go of the heartbreak I was feeling. And by a long time, I mean like it was probably in the last month or so that I finally realized that I needed to let go of the biggest anchor to come from high school. 

You'd think that forgetting about the person that walked out on me would be really easy. But every good memory kept resurfacing when the possibility of letting go came to mind. I was starting to think my eyes wouldn't ever be able to cry again, so I walked away from graduation trying to have the mindset that I was going to leave it all in high school. All of it. And I failed at that. I found myself constantly getting worked up over all of the little things, and I was having a hard time moving on from what was holding me back from actually finding some sort of happiness. This was supposed to be the most monumental summer of my life and here I am being mad at the world and feeling some sort of petty entitlement because I was still stuck in high school. How is any person supposed to find happiness in the place they once lost it? The logic that somehow made sense in my mind was what was keeping me from truly being happy with my life.

Then it all came to me. Not at once, but slowly. 

College is the time to start fresh and completely...well...blank. 

In high school, we painted our canvases with the same colors as everyone else around us. That popular girl has a sparkly phone case? Guess what I just ordered online! All of the girls are wearing their hair a certain way so let me get my hair styled that way too. We all molded in one way or another to fit the so-called "norm" and our canvases all looked pretty similar. Of course there were those few things that differed from person to person, but for the most part everybody painted with the same palate and with the same colors. And when we had rough patches — like when your crush got a girlfriend, your best friend forgot your existence, or you ruined your dress at prom dinner — we punched holes in our canvas. We ripped right through them, making them look as empty as we felt inside. And like any good artist knows, you can't continue to paint on a canvas that's already covered in color and is ripped. 

Moving on to college while holding on to the heartache from high school is like trying to take your overly used, rather destroyed canvas and trying to create a masterpiece with it. It's impossible to try and start fresh when you hold on to the pain of the past. As hard as it is, letting go of what brings you despair is the only way you can truly start fresh. And when you realize that your future is going to be painted by whatever colors your heart desires, the anchors of heartache will finally sink. 

College is truly the time to become who you've actually wanted to be your entire life. You have no expectations as to what kind of person you should be or what you should or shouldn't like.  Once you start absolutely fresh and with a beautifully and brilliantly white canvas, amazing things happen. You can be the free spirit your heart has been longing to be. You want to eat fried squid? You go for it. Want to ask that super AHDORABLE guy from chem to grab coffee with you after class? Do it. Want to join a sorority? Go rush! Slowly but surely, your once white canvas will start to be glistened with vivacious colors and with a gorgeous life that wouldn't otherwise be seen on that old life you left behind. Letting go of the past is one the hardest things to do, don't get me wrong. It took my heart a long time to finally let go of my old heartaches. And there's no one process to healing; everyone heals differently. Taking a deep breath and picking up that fresh, clean paintbrush is the hardest part. Painting your new masterpiece? Now that's a piece of cake.  

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Jayde Anzola - Purdue University

Jayde is a freshman at Purdue University studying Public Relations and Communications with a minor in Spanish. When she's not writing, you can find her wandering around campus with her camera, FaceTiming her mom, or rewatching Gossip Girl. You can follow her on Instagram @jaydeanzola!

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