I have always been inclined to view my life in chapters. Some are long, some are short, some are particularly challenging and others utterly thrilling, but what can be guaranteed each and every time is that each chapter will have a beginning and each chapter will, sooner or later, come to an end. Yes, the chapter of my life before Stanford has now come to an end, but I’m almost certain that the story has only just getting started.
Yesterday was the day of my nineteenth birthday, and what better time to return to blogging than on a day filled with such happy memories of times gone by and sheer excitement for the adventures that lie ahead. With a new year, a new website and a new sense of direction with regards to deciding which of the many paths before me that I’d like my life to take, I’m determined to use this platform of blogging and my voice through this medium as a force for positive change.
To begin with a brief update on where I’m at (more to follow – I promise), my first few months in California as a freshman at Stanford have been nothing short of extraordinary and I have already grown as a young, independent woman in ways I could never have imagined. From compelling classes and phenomenal professors to pool parties under the palms and city adventures with my dorm mates in San Francisco, I really am living the dream in every possible way and will never cease to be grateful-beyond-words for the tremendous support I have received throughout my lifetime in order to reach this incredible stage.
However, it must also be acknowledged that this recent chapter has not been without its challenges. Not only was I leaving home to move halfway across the world after having been away from my parents for a total of possibly two weeks in my entire life, but I was also having to learn to rely on what was essentially a handful of complete strangers to assist me with everything down to the most personal and intimate tasks of daily living. I am certain that this experience is in no way unique to my situation since starting afresh with personal assistants, wherever you are in the world, is always a physically and emotionally challenging task, but after not so long, this entirely ‘foreign’ experience becomes the new normal and, quite simply, life goes on in its unique and wonderful way. I am extremely fortunate to be receiving this support and hope to dedicate a separate post in the near future to how exactly this came about and what 24/7 care actually looks like in my day-to-day life.
Waving goodbye to my parents as they boarded the plane back to the UK was also a huge melange of emotional extremes. In the exact same second, I was both torn apart by the pain of letting go of all that made me feel safe and represented my most cherished memories of life up until that moment, and brimming with delight and wonder that, somehow, against all the odds, I had achieved my wildest dream of attending university in California and this would forever be the moment in time in which it all began.
Arriving on this jaw-droppingly stunning campus in early September, I quickly came to understand that as much as Stanford was going to make its mark on me and shape me in ways I couldn’t even begin to comprehend, it was also my responsibility to make my mark on Stanford and allow my identity to shine through in this vibrant and diverse community. In no way has coming to Stanford caused me to lose any aspect of myself, but rather it has provided me with a platform from which to better understand who I am and share this with the diverse and fascinating individuals that surround me each and every day.
So it’s true that each chapter has a beginning end, but I am now beginning to see my chapters less as entirely separate from one another and more as each building on and enriching the previous. For all entering a new phase in life, whether this be going to university, starting a new job or even retiring after a long and fulfilling career, I have learnt the importance of staying true to my identity despite the immense changes taking place around me, but also I have gained a much greater appreciation the value of taking these huge leaps of faith in order to discover who I really am right now and who I hope to one day become.
Until next time, keep dreaming big, shining bright and being extraordinary.