This weekend is bittersweet for me. It’s Homecoming weekend, which means campus is flooded with alums. But this year is different for me. In a year, I’ll be one of them.

For many years, I’ve had my list of top fears well-defined.

  1. Puke
  2. Drowning
  3. Scorpions
  4. Hair

My roommate even knows the pitch of my squeal when I see a ball of hair on the floor. Those were my fears. Now, I’m coming to terms with a new fear-the passage of time. I fear the passage of time-or more specifically, wasted time. Seeing alums wheeling into their 50th reunion makes age more solidified for me-that’s me one day. Many of these alums seem so happy-they show up carting around children and spouses, pointing out their old stomping stomping grounds. Will I have that one day? Right now the future is just an empty space for me-I have plans but I have no idea what my life will really be like. Will I be happy? I feel so happy here right now. I feel like Stanford is truly the best place to be. What will the future hold?

More than the passage of time, I fear the loss of friends. Of stories and memories fading away as the clock ticks onwards. We relive the past through our stories. We relive happiness, excitement, fear. I love telling stories, and I love recalling memories. Stories are a snapshot of a particular time; they are our time capsules to the past, and they keep us connected to who we are and who we were. Even more than telling stories, I love making stories. Having adventures that I can talk and laugh about years from now. Sometimes I worry that I’m too caught up in the past, but in reality, this is my way of staying connected and grounded as things change. In one year, my life is going to be completely different than it’s ever been. Saying goodbye before college was hard, but I think saying goodbye after college is worse. It’s not that I’m not excited for what the future has in store, but in high school, I feel like I was constantly biding my time for high school. Now, I’m realizing I can’t keep just trying to push through until I’ve accomplished my career goals to live. Time passes. If I fast forward my life to post-grad school, then all I do is lose years. I have to live NOW because there’s always going to be a next thing to look toward, and I can’t keep waiting until the next thing because before I know it I’ll be rolling up to my 50th reunion and wondering where the years have gone.

I’m doing my best to enjoy my last year here to the utmost degree. At the same time, I feel like everything is coming full circle. Things, people, and feelings from freshman year keep popping up. As a freshman, I never once thought the whole college thing would end. I was just getting started! 4 years was forever. Yet here I am.


(Santa Run 2012-what a baby! I wish I had taken more pictures then…)

Looking back on it, I could not have asked for more out of my freshman year. At the time it was difficult-sleep deprivation, intense academics, D1 college sport, making new friends, mono. I came in with such an eagerness to be there that I feel like faded as I got beaten down. But out of freshman year, I got countless memories and lifelong friends. As I said, it was hard at the time but looking back, it was exactly what I needed.

Sophomore year was very rough. I learned the hard way what it meant to be doing a difficult major at one of the top science schools in the country. I did not like it here then. I was drowning. I seriously contemplated whether I should transfer. I was lost-I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know if I was in the right place. But as I’ve always said, the best part about Stanford is the people, and my friends carried me through.


Despite the difficult academics, I did make some awesome memories that I will carry with me. I also felt more grounded than freshman year. I had a solid group of friends so I didn’t have the constant pressure of trying to make friends that comes with freshman year.

Junior year was good-a solid year but somewhat lonely as a lot of people I knew went abroad. I spent more time alone, but I think I found myself a little more, especially with figuring out my life. Far fewer quarter-life crises.


Halloween 2014 was possibly one of the best days of my life.

And now. Senior year. I feel like there’s so much left to do, and I have the eagerness of a freshman. I can’t wait to make more memories with these amazing people.

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4 comments on “Coming Full Circle

  1. Sky @ Blonde Freedom

    College goes by too fast. It really hits once you’re in senior year and especially your last semester. The transition from college to post-grad life is hard. Like super hard. But it’s a part of life and so many people are going through it with you. One of the hardest things has to be not living in the safe town anymore as my best friends. But anyways I could go on forever, cherish your homecoming weekend and savor the memories you make!

    1. astottler Post author

      I definitely will! That was well said!

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