Sunday, August 17, 2014

James Madison, miss you.

Today the feeling of FOMO is hitting me hard.  For those of you not familiar with the term 'FOMO' it stands for 'fear of missing out' or in general the feeling that you're missing something.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I am seriously experiencing FOMO for JMU.  I almost feel homesick. Which is strange.  But I called JMU home for the last four years and it feels weird not going back to my townhouse (and my beautifully decorated room, ah).  My sister goes back tomorrow,  because of course she has to be back for FROG week (for all of you JMU alums you know what that is, for all you non JMU alums-well FROG week is the most fun, most exhausting week of the JMU school year and it's an event in itself).

But in all seriousness, JMU was one of the best things that happened to me.  It sounds cheesy, but college really helped me mature as a person, find who I really wanted to be; it helped me grow up.  The first time I went to JMU was for a yearbook camp in high school, I know, yearbook camp.  This is when I was super involved in every club, determined to pump up my resume, plus I really like being a yearbook editor.  That would be my inner nerd coming out, but as I approached JMU,  I knew something about the school was different.  Everyone was happy, and I mean like genuinely happy, not like creepy Stepford Wives happy.  And the campus was beautiful, out of movie beautiful.  At the time I was contemplating going to College of Charleston, and although South Carolina is absolutely breathtaking, it didn't compare to the 'feeling' I got when I walked on campus at JMU for the first time.  Whenever someone asked me, "Why did you choose James Madison?"  I always responded the same way, "It was a feeling."  And for me, someone who doesn't like change at all, JMU felt like a comfortable transition.  That sounds lame, but it really was fate; a perfect distance from home, filled with enough friends that I wouldn't feel bombarded by new people, and it had a good reputation (both for fun and for the business school).  So when the time came to decide, I already knew.  JMU felt like home.

And over the last four years, it was the perfect home.  The first week coming to JMU, FROG week, was nerve-racking.  It was also filled with awkward ice breakers (note: ice breakers DO NOT help you make friends, they're just extremely socially awkward exercises forced upon you by overly enthusiastic people), but, over time I grew really, really close to the people in my dorm (who knows, maybe I'm completely wrong about those horrid exercises).  We did everything together, and living with the same people for a full year, well, you learn a lot about yourself.  Freshmen year was like a never ending summer camp, where classes were optional and going out became a norm.  I never wanted to go home, like honestly, it was like Disney World for 19 year olds. Which I learned quickly, did not make for the best grades.  Over time I adjusted my routine, and within the year, I had it down.  Like I was the ideal JMU student, who valued the social and the academic.  When summer came, I didn't want to home.  I was convinced life couldn't get any better.

The next three years that followed are a blur.  Sophomore year was a lot different, made some interesting decisions.  I got a little caught up in my own world, and felt a bit lost after the year ended.  But as my junior year approached I knew it would be different, I was about to encounter the hardest semester ever, or so I heard from previous COB 300 alums.  And it was the hardest semester (academically), but still a blast.  Only at JMU can you feel totally overworked but completely happy at the same time.  The next semester I went to Florence, and that speaks for itself, I was in Europe. Like honestly words can't describe what I experienced. Food, wine, traveling, art, clothes, and more wine. Perfection.  Studying abroad should be mandatory for all college students, it's life-altering.

Finally it was my senior year, and as I returned to school, I was completely blown away how quickly the past three years flew.  Like really, it flew by (time flies when you're having fun) and I knew my senior year was my last hurrah, so I wanted to make it fun.  Between applying to jobs, going to classes, planning a trip to Vegas for spring break, and going out routinely (a good amount, I won't say how much I went out, but let's just say a good amount) the year flew by and graduation approached without me expecting it.  It sort of hit me in the face, and the next thing I knew I was walking across the stage, praying not to fall, grasping my diploma (well the fake one they give you) thinking, this is surreal, this can not be my college graduation.  But it came and went and I actually only cried like five times. Which, if you know me well, is pretty impressive.  Honestly, I'm surprised I wasn't sobbing walking across stage.  I wasn't really sad, I mean I was ready to graduate; to be working and done with school, but I knew that this was the end of an era.

And as I look back at my JMU career, I am so proud.  I really changed throughout those four years.  I became smarter (hopefully), more well rounded, and learned some very important things: how to do laundry, how to make pasta (still working on the overall cooking thing), how to drink (in a mature fashion), how to be open to people and how to be independent. Plus I met some of the most amazing people, people who changed me.  And although I tend to not be a very 'school spirited' kind of girl,  I will always love JMU.  Look out freshmen, you have some big shoes to fill, but really, enjoy it.  Hey, don't you worry, the class of 2014 will all be back for homecoming.  Rumor has it, it's on Halloween weekend, which we all know, is going to be absolutely and utterly ridiculous.  But, I wouldn't expect anything else from the best school in the nation: J-M-U (duuuuuukes, tear tear, grabbing the tissues).

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