Clickable Heading MYRIAD

Fall at Rutgers, Passing Time, and Life Plans

I’m starting to type this post on November 2nd, 2023 while sipping a hot oat milk latte at a coffee shop in downtown New Brunswick, NJ, a short walk from Rutgers University’s College Ave campus.

I came to Rutgers in the fall of 2023, because I decided to not return to University of San Diego really late in the game, and Rutgers was the only school I could still go to. I literally didn’t know if I was coming until a couple weeks before the semester started. But, I did, and I’ve been here since August. It’s the beginning of November now. I know that not much time has passed, but to me, it’s felt like ages. Probably because of how much of my life has changed in the past months.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. And journaling. Lots has been happening, so there’s been lots to think about.

I recently finished a journal for the first time ever. I started it in May 2018 and finished it in October 2023. It has this awful design because I started it in middle school. I used to be embarrassed to take it out to write in it in public.

I originally was trying to keep any expectations for my time at Rutgers pretty low. I didn’t know if I was going to stay here for very long or decide to transfer again. I didn’t know if I would like it or not. I told myself to think of this school year as a gap year with classes. Over the summer, people would constantly ask me what my plan was for school, and I would just tell them I didn’t really have one.

You see, I sort of realized I kinda made a huge mistake by choosing to withdraw from USD. I felt like I knocked my life off its trajectory. I had built something really great for myself out there, and deciding not to go back made me realize that, I think. I didn’t really beat myself up about it because I think I made a decent decision based on the information I had at the time and the way I felt back then. But at the same time, I was upset, because regardless of why, I was in a situation I didn’t want to be in, wishing I hadn’t decided to leave. Back then, I was dealing with some pretty bad mental stuff. I was really struggling, and I thought it would help me a lot to be closer to my support network from home. I thought I would feel better if I was just with my boyfriend and friends and at home. And all I wanted was to feel better. And I associated bad mental health with USD, which made me not want to go back.

Me and Gabs at midnight on Misson Beach a few days before I came back home (I’m literally gonna cry rn) I miss her sm :((

Typing this out, part of me thinks maybe just starting college was hard, and I was trying to go back to when things felt a little easier. To go back to how I felt before I left for California. And also blaming USD for my bad mental health, even though it wasn’t its fault. But of course, you can’t go back in time, and even though I was home it wasn’t the way I left it. I did get better once I got back to Jersey, but I wish I hadn’t given up on USD so quickly.

But a lot changed after I got back, and soon I realized the boyfriend I came back for wasn’t someone I should be with and broke up with him, and learned in a really blatant way the friends I desperately wanted to return to didn’t actually care about me. So I was left with what to do next.

My parents told me to take a gap year because August rolled around and I still didn’t really know what I was doing. I thought about it, but honestly, I think I would go crazy just being at home, even with a job. I wanted to keep moving forward with my degree, didn’t want to “fall behind”, whatever that means. Behind what? Who knows. Anyway, I didn’t know what to do in the fall because I felt like I needed to choose some sort of path that would lead to the rest of my life and get started with it. But I didn’t really know what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. I got really wrapped up in trying to ‘start my future’, instead of just choosing things as they come and making decisions based on where I was at. So, because I wanted to keep earning credits and didn’t know what the next big life step was, I told myself Rutgers was a time to figure out what I wanted to do. A year to just go to classes, figure myself out, and my life out. Like a break year. And I think it kinda stayed that way, but also didn’t??

I’m more than halfway through the semester now, and it’s been a lot. When I first came here, I really struggled. I bounced between excitement about my life and a sense that I was just stagnant.

My First Football Game at Rutgers! It was like a million degrees and me and the girls I was with left at halftime because we were sweating our asses off.

I’m living in an apartment for the first time, and that has been really cool. And of course, I’ll take any excuse to decorate something, so it was fun to get some new posters and decor to make the place feel more homey.

My wall, featuring Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, Bowie, SZA, Florence and the Machine, Her’s, TV Girl, Wet Leg, The Velvet Underground, Stevie Nicks, Lana Del Ray, Girl in Red, Steve Lacy, Sir Chloe, Wallows, my two favorite Greta Gerwig movies (Barbie and Ladybird (which is my favorite movie ever, I watch it at least every few months)) and a couple women’s rights posters :))))

I also enjoyed having a car, which I didn’t my first year of school. I drove all around and enjoyed the simple freedom of grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s whenever I wanted or running errands.


Also, New Brunswick is actually a bigger city than I thought, and I love all the city vibes

I was doing some other cool stuff too. I was in the gym a lot. I took up cooking and got really into it, having a kitchen to myself for the first time. I was going to book tours, rewatching New Girl, trying to learn latte art, continuing to build the website you’re on rn, thrifting cool clothes, discovering new places, going on walks, finding cool smoke spots, starting a new crochet project, reading really amazing books, and lots of other stuff.

All that being said, my favorite thing is my classes. I was continuing to learn French (I started in 9th grade and am determined to be fluent) while taking classes like Feminism in Historical Perspective, Classical Sociological Theory, and Feminist Practices. I love the stuff I’m learning, and I almost don’t mind the coursework because it’s about topics I care about and actually want to learn. That’s one thing I love about college vs high school, or at least college if you are doing a major you actually like.

I was planning on spending the year here, but about halfway through the semester, I decided I wasn’t going to do that. The fact is, I just don’t like Rutgers.

I did basically no research before I came here because it was my only option. I knew that it was a big school, but I had no clue just how big until I came. It has almost five times the students USD had. It has a campus made up of four different campuses, each the size of its own university. And it’s set up awfully. It’s horribly unwalkable (and even if it wasn’t, the cold winters make me not want to be outside anyway. And I love to walk). It’s undrivable, because my $170 parking pass permits me to park in one singular lot during the day. So the only way around is to use the bus system, which has a lot of flaws. Classes are scattered across campuses and can take a forty-minute commute to get to. There’s more, but I won’t go into it. It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want to stay.

And I struggled with it for a while. I told myself to just suck it up and make it through the year because I was already here. If you’ve ever transferred schools, you know it’s a pain in the ass. The whole process is so much work time and energy and it just sucks. Also, I’m currently six classes away from completing my Women’s and Gender Studies Major at Rutgers, and I likely will be further from that at any new school I go to. But really, what’s the point in keeping yourself somewhere you don’t want to be just because leaving requires some effort. I felt like I was wasting my life, being in a place I kinda just wanted to escape, and living a life that, while I was enjoying and viewing positively, I knew just wasn’t what I really wanted. We only have so much time to live, and coming up on my 20’s, I’ve been thinking a lot about how quickly time moves, and how fast my time being young is slipping away. (Not saying I’m old, I’m literally still a teenager. Just that I don’t want to waste any time not truly loving my life and what I’m doing). So I decided to leave after the fall semester.

Logically, the next question is what to do next. I knew I didn’t want to be at Rutgers. But I didn’t know what I wanted. The way I saw it, I had a few options. I could go home and work. I could go back to University of San Diego. Or I could go to a new school completely.

Home was one option (also the most cost-effective lol), and I love my parents a lot, but I just felt like once I got there I wouldn’t really know what to do with myself. Home isn’t a choice really, it’s somewhere I could go to exist for a bit before making a choice. And I don’t know, I just knew I didn’t really want to be there. It kinda felt like moving backward. So that was hopefully a no.

I <3 my bed (this is right before i strung up new lights above my bed- these ones were starting to die bc I kept them on all day everyday for literal years)

As for USD, I’ve thought a lot about it. I missed my life there a lot, I still do. So I looked into how hard it would be to return, and found out it would be very easy. A one-page form, actually. But I know if I went back, I wouldn’t be back where I left it. The people I knew have been living their lives there since I left, and it’s not like I would expect to seamlessly slip back into the picture. I did like that I already knew I liked it there, though. After going to Rutgers I realized how great of a fit USD was for me, strictly in terms of the school itself. Small school, a walkable campus, stuff like that. I was and am scared that I could transfer to a new university and dislike it too. At least I knew I liked going to USD. But, part of me feels like, I’ve already done that. It’s time for something new, and I want a fresh start, I think.

So the last option was to go somewhere completely new. Which to me is equally terrifying and thrilling. A new start. That being said, I’d prefer that start to be in the fall, rather than the middle of the year. So the question became what to do with my spring.

I was really into French stuff when I was a kid, and now know a decent amount of the language. I joke sometimes when life sucks that I’m going to run away to France. I think I’m onto something with that.

I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, and I’m in a place in my life right now where I have no commitments to anyone. I’m young, I’m craving meaning, and I think I need some new perspective. So I decided to just go. To book a one-way plane ticket and solo backpack through Europe for at least a couple months. Which sounds kinda crazy. But I’m doing it, and I’m pretty fucking excited about it. So that’s this spring, and then I’ll come home to work and make $$$ this summer, then drive my car out to a new university in the spring. Not sure where yet. Somewhere warm.

A lot of stuff happened to me this semester so far. Some of it good, some of it bad, a lot of it hurtful, and some of it perfect and wonderful.

Been trying a lot of new coffee shops lately either in the city or I drive to Princeton- its one of my favorite things to do, and I usually get a ton of work done too. Always an oatmilk latte with one splenda in it.

I actually got over a relationship. One that I thought I was already over, and though I was in a lot of ways, I just became at peace with the whole thing. I’m over it in a way I thought that you couldn’t be until I got here. I think a lot of people never get here. And it’s really nice. We just weren’t a good pair, I messed up a ton, and he messed up a ton, but I honestly wish him nothing but happiness. He’s great, and I hope he has a great life. But I don’t belong with him, I don’t want to be with him, and I never will be again.

I’ve lost some friends that meant the world to me. Friends I really loved having. It was a lot to have a close friend who I cared a lot about stop talking to me out of the blue, lie to me about it, then tell me in a text that I was unwanted, and stop speaking to me. I haven’t heard from them since September, or seen some other friends since. Stuff like that is hard. It took me a long time to be okay, but life keeps going, and things happen that are out of our control. I wish them the best too.

Also! I dyed my hair brown again with a box dye from Target . It felt really strange. I’m grateful for everything blonde-sarah did, she was a fun era and she learned a lot about life, but I like being brunette again. Not only is it way less expensive, it feels almost like I’m going back to a different version of my younger self. Not going back, maybe, but starting new, starting fresh. A huge change in myself and in my life deserved a big physical change too, I think.

A lot of other things happened, too. And it’s only November.

A lot happens that we don’t see coming. And so much of the world is out of our control. But we have this life that we choose what to do with. We each have full agency to change any part of our lives that we don’t like. Isn’t that crazy to think about? I was reflecting on the way we think about life in my journal last week. I spend too much time looking backward or forward. Dwelling on things that have already happened or getting anxious about the future and what I should do with it. But I think that life happens in phases. And you need to just focus on the one you’re in at each moment. Live in the present, and make decisions based on what you want in this phase of life. So here I am, getting ready to finish this semester and then go do something new. And the thought of that is exciting.