My Farewell To Hattiesburg

Four whole years of college has passed plus another year of still finding my way. I remember five years ago when I first started college and couldn’t imagine myself being graduated and not knowing what was going to be at the end of it. Now I’m going into grad school and still won’t know what’s going to be at the end of that. It’s weird how the years have passed so fast and how much I’ve learned. The people that I’ve met that has entered my life and exited out… each one has made some sort of impact whether they were good or bad. I can’t complain because it’s lead to where I’m currently at. And currently I’m happy. My first year of college as a freshman was a good experience. I was still into getting involved with everything, that’s how I made my friends: being part of the student government, student activities, advocating against tobacco through The Partnership, and being a member of the “GEWW Crew”… yes, I was one of those people. It’s amazing to me when I run into one of my “kids” that I lead through their orientation and they still recognize me as their leader. I can only hope I helped them feel more welcomed to campus. And of course joining RUGBY that year thanks to Rogan and Mary (seriously, thank you). I can remember it as if it was yesterday: big organization recruiting campaign and there they were away from all the other organizations, these two people asked if I wanted to play rugby. I looked up at them with the weirdest facial expression (one of those wtf looks) but signed up anyways because they looked as if they would kick my ass if I didn’t at least sign the paper, so I did. I went to practice along with about 7 other rookies so the comfort of not being the only new one out there kept me to continue to come out. We had 3 coaches, actually had a full team, and were undefeated that year and I will never forget that.
My freshmen year was also the first year I ever started drinking… I’d like to thank my former coach Steve for that. It was right after playing MSU up at Starkville and he just kept handing cape cods to me {2 to be exact (yes I realize that’s pathetic but I’m asian)} and the next thing I know I’m ready to pass out! It was that day when people always gave me shit for being a light weight, but I’m okay with that. After practice on Wednesdays we would always go to Nick’s Ice House (and we still do) and I remember when Billy totally had a crush on me and kept buying me beers. I never liked the taste and still don’t to this day, so little did he know that me and Tab would always switch out beers. I’d take her empty beer bottle and she’d take my full one. He’d notice eventually that my bottle was empty and would buy me more… I swear that every time we’d go to Nick’s that whole year, he bought me at least 3 to 4 beers a night and I never drank a single drop! Sorry Billy!
Us rookies back then all became good friends and had good times and fun road trips. I became good friends with Allison who also played rugby. And although I don’t smoke, I did enjoy those days when we (Allison, Me, Benoit, and Sara = aka “The Posse”) would meet in the Freshmen Quad at the picnic bench under the shade tree for a “smoke break”. Those were fun times. Then the next year, because of two of them, I finally gave in and pledged Kappa Alpha Theta. Although I am no longer in it, I must admit that it was one of the BEST experiences during college. I absolutely loved it! If I could accept another bid then I would do it over and over again. Unfortunately you can only accept 1. My sophomore year was fun. I eventually faded out of being in every organization and became more involved with my sorority. I will never forget “Recruitment Week,” being trapped in PanHELLenic… long nights, early mornings, no sleep, caked on makeup, exaggerated smiles, singing our lungs out, wearing dresses and other clothes that I will never ever wear again but cost me up the ass to get them, and of course the lovely “stairs” along the side of the building that held many many conversations because that was our only taste of “freedom” we had all week. My favorite saying from Theta that I will always hold dear to my heart is, “Faith, Hope, and Love… but the greatest of these is Love.”
By the time my junior year rolled around I had changed my major 3 times and finally discovered what I truly loved doing and know what I’d like to do as a career. I believe it was at the end of that year that I eventually got out of Theta and all I wanted to do was focus on my major. I interned as a strength coach at USM and loved the atmosphere. The athletes, the weight room, sweat, motivation, determination, pushing limits, hard work, encouragement… Hell, I even enjoyed waking up at 4:30 AM to make 5 o’clock punishment runs with football, 6 o’clock workouts with women’s soccer, & 7 o’clock workouts with men’s tennis…. I did that once or twice a week for a whole year. I dragged ass in the morning but once I got there I was pretty damn happy. It was great and I learned soo much that I wouldn’t ever imagine learning. And when you’re actually happy waking up at 4:30 in the morning then that should definitely tell you something!!!
My senior year I started working for this company where I got moved high up pretty quickly as a manager and thought I was going to do that for the rest of my life. I noticed very quickly that I wasn’t happy at all. That the promisings of a lot of money will never replace the happiness of your true passions. So I quit and got a personal fitness trainer’s certification. And now I have plans for grad school which leads me to leaving this wonderful city that started it all for me. I’ve met many many good people, and I’ve also met some terrible people. No matter how mature I told myself I was each year… 18, 19, 20, 21, 22… I was soo arrogant and naïve about everything, I was out to prove everyone wrong who would tell me different… I was an idiot. I’m sure I still am and will be in certain situations. But, that’s the whole process of growing up and learning right? And because of those terrible people I’ve discovered who my true friends are, became much closer to others, and made even more friends. So to those who gave me hell in my past I want to say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to discover who my true friends are, for allowing me to become closer to a few girl friends of mine and to allow me to become close with a few guy friends, whom of which I would do absolutely anything for. I love those late night “heart to heart” conversations… you learn a lot because your friends will tell you like it is. Here’s a lesson for everyone in which I learned the hard way: Listen to your friends, especially if more than 2 or 3 people tell you something, they see things from the outside that you can’t see or refuse to see, it will pay off in the long run!!!
I can’t believe I got the fitness graduate assistantship at UT. Out of all the people that applied, I wonder why she chose me. I have a feeling that that’s going to be the kick start of my career. Just a gut feeling I suppose. So I leave here tomorrow and am ready to start what I will call Chapter 3 of my life. I am a little bit nervous on how it’s going to go but I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and take that extra leap or else you won’t get anywhere in life. You don’t know what you could be missing. Sometimes it’s going to be good and other times it’s going to be bad, but life has a way of putting you in situations that requires you to climb over the biggest mountain; but once you reach the top and get over that mountain, you’ll eventually get back on your feet, dust yourself off, and know that you’ll be able to continue and be okay. It can’t always be that easy or else it wouldn’t be called life. As much as I’ve enjoyed being here, this city will always remain the same and it’s become quite mundane for me so it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.
To all my friends, teammates, & acquaintances… To those who know what a crazy past weekend it has been that still just seems so surreal and we’re all still wanting to wake up from it all… I’ve learned to smile more, love more, forgive, forget the petty little things that won’t matter, don’t be so quick to judge, accept others… I’m no better than the person standing next to me… don’t take people or things for granted, appreciate the little things, try to believe that everything happens for a reason, don’t get upset because you didn’t get something you wanted but instead just realize that you were meant to do or receive something else, live life to the fullest each day, and say ‘I Love You’ more often. 🙂

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